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Stealing Ham Urban Legend

Posted By Svadharma Keerthi On May 16, 2012 @ 7:04 am In general,Humor,Legends,Narrative,Stereotypes/Blason Populaire | Comments Disabled

Transcribed Text:

“My friend told me this story. He said his friend was working at this grocery store, and this very large, borderline obese African American woman is walking towards the exit, and her body seems especially lumpy? More so than it would be for a normal obese woman. And all of a sudden, out of her shirt, on to the ground, falls a ham. A big ol’ ham, like you’d have for Christmas dinner. And – and she looks around, and she goes “who threw that at me?” (said in a very sassy voice). And- and it was very obvious that it had just fallen out of her shirt, but she proceeds to play it off like someone just threw a ham at her. And she reacts, and I guess this would supposedly be an appropriate reaction for having a ham thrown at you, by saying “nuh uh. Ya bettta don’t” (said in a very sassy voice with left hand on hip and right hand waving with the index finger. Head bobbing right and left while phrase is said). And, and then she just walks out. And the ham is on the floor and the employees were just standing there, mouth agape”

The informant currently attends the University of Southern California as a student. He says that he heard this story from a friend in high school in New Jersey. It has become a friend of a friend story, and he has told many of his friends the story several times. He normally tells the story after he uses the phrase “nuh uh. Ya betta don’t” in some conversation, and the people who do not know the context of that phrase ask him about it. I first saw him use it when it came up in a conversation on facebook where somebody refused to go look for their wallet to pay for a ticket that was going to be sold out within a few hours. The informant replied to that comment with “Sarah just tried to pull the same shit. Nuh uh. Ya betta don’t” to which he received many questions as to what that meant. Ever since then, he has repeated the story many times, each time receiving laughter regardless of if the audience has heard it before or not.

It is obvious by the way the informant tells the story that he is an active bearer of this now legend. Every time he repeats the story, there are fixed phrases and beats to the narrative. He makes use of the oral formulaic theory also with the final phrase where he imitates the woman. The audience, regardless of if they themselves repeat the story or not, the phrase “nuh uh. Ya betta don’t” has become a phrase that many people have started repeating and using within this group of friends at least. This story is a very amusing narrative, but it is also a bit racist. When the informant was describing how to properly say the phrase, he said that one has to do it with a proper ghetto accent and sass. This plays on the stereotype of African Americans that exists in the USA today, where it is normal and almost expected of the group to talk with a certain accent. This piece of folklore is an urban legend that makes use of the oral formulaic theory in the method that it is performed and Blason Populaire with the content that it contains.

 

 

 

 


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