USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘FOAF’
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Legends
Narrative

Georgetown Chupacabra

There was a guy in Georgetown who heard noises outside of his trailer. He grabbed a gun that for some reason he kept in his run-down trailer, he ran outside to find a chupacabra. A chupacabra is like a goat-eater, is what it’s also called. I don’t really know what it looks like. But in this case I hear that what he shot at might have actually been a sick, hairless, bear cub, which is pretty sad. Anyway, the guy shoots at it and misses, then shoots again and kills the thing. He said when he shot it, it was screaming “like a four year old girl.” Which is a really disturbing analogy, because, how, precisely, would he know? Anyway, that’s what I heard. It happened in the town just over from ours. The guy was a big hick, and he went to high school, I think, with our high school economics teacher.

This is a FOAF story that happened in the performer’s hometown. It definitely gives a feel for the town identity. As the performer of this story lives nearby the town where the chupacabra was allegedly found, she knows the area and is familiar with what bear cubs look like. She is fond of the story, because it is quickly becoming a town legend, and has apparently made the town infamous, where before the town was too small to be of any note. The story has become part of the town identity.

general
Narrative

FOAF Story

The names in the following FOAF story have been censored to protect the people involved:

“This story involves my friend M—’s friend C—. He was a, uh, they used to hang out at his place on Thursday nights, a large group of them, and they were doing this one evening and they went over to the pizza place that was right around the corner, uh, and this was part of their normal traditions. Each night that they went he [C—] started flirting with this one, uh server that worked there. And then one night he said, ‘Okay, that’s it, guys, I’m gonna make my move.’

“So they said, ‘Okay; good luck.’

“And he said ‘All right. Here are my keys—house keys’—they were hanging at his place—‘If I don’t come back, hey, uh, hide them in the planter.’ Okay. So they go back, hang out at his place for a couple of hours, hide the keys in the planter, and take off.

“M— sees him two days later and he said, ‘Hey, what’s up? Y’know, what happened? Uh, you didn’t come back. Did you go out with her?’

“And he [C—] said, ‘Well, I sh—I didn’t want to take her back to my place ’cause you guys were there. She wouldn’t tell me why, but she said she didn’t want to go back to her place. So we got a hotel room.’

“‘What?’

“‘Yeah, we got a hotel room right away.’

“‘Okay, and then what happened?’

“‘Well’n, started makin’ out, she took off her clothes.’

“M— said, ‘Okay, so—ha—y’know, what was it like?’

“H’said [C—], “Oh, she—great, great breasts.’

“‘Cool. What about the rest of her?’

“He [C—] said, ‘Well, y’ever, you know, uh, remember those pictures of people’s lungs when they smoke?’

“[M—] Says, ‘You mean enphyzema?’

“H’said [C—], ‘Yeah, yeah, y’know’z all black, and bubbly, and stuff?’

“[M—] Said, ‘Yeah.’

“H’ed [C—], “Well, i’ looked like she smoked with her vagina.’

“[M—] Said, ‘Holy crap! What did you do?’

“’Ed [C—], ‘Well, I just stared at her tits.’

“‘Okay . . . so . . . then what happened?’

“Hed [M—], “Well, we were goin’ at it, she was on top of me and she had her head back and she was really into it and she was just, uh, had her eyes closed, and then she suddenly pulled back her fist and screamed, —You son’uva— and then she opened her eyes and she looked at me and she said —Oh my God, I’m so sorry! For a second there, I thought you were somebody else.—’

“M— was like, ‘Oh my God, man, what did you do?’

“‘I’ll tell ya. As soon as I finished up, I got the hell out of there.’ Yeah.”

The informant tells this story “generally when people are discussing the most horrific sexual experiences that they are aware of—this story gets carted out.”

The informant is not certain of the veracity of the story but likes it anyway: “Um, I think that it’s fantastic, uh, and amusing, uh, and horrifying all at once. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I do know that it is a wonderful tale.”

The story, besides serving as a way to horrify people, could be considered a warning of the dangers of sex—STDs especially. Then, too, it might be a metaphor for the fears of the virginal about what it will be like to have sex. C—’s reason for telling the story to M—, if it was not true, was likely similar to the informant’s reason for repeating it—it makes a good horror story.

Narrative

Occupational FOAF Stories

When the informant worked in a tech support job at the University of Southern California, she heard the two following occupational FOAF stories about ridiculous problems customers had called in to friends of her fellow workers:

The most common story the informant heard was that of the worker who complains, “I broke my cup holder,” not knowing that the so-called “cup holder” is in fact the CD drive on his CPU. The other oft-retold IT question she heard was, “Where’s the ‘any’ key.” This question relates to a common program prompt: “When a program says, ‘Press any key to continue, uh, some individuals—they may not have a full grasp of the English language or of a computer—are looking for an actual key on the keyboard that says, ‘Any key,’ as opposed to just pressing any key on the keyboard.”

The informant considered these two stories to be pure invention until she later encountered them herself as an IT manager: “At first I thought that it was, you know, just kind of a joking thing—ha, that’s funny, who, who would ever actually ask that?—but I did encounter it twice . . . somebody put a cup in the CD drive and the CD drive is not built to hold cups with liquid in it. And it broke.” She recalls her response to the first time she got the “cup holder” question: “I tried to be very—I’m sure I was—maybe chuckled a little bit? But I try to be very professional in my response, saying that’s not a cup holder and that the person had broken their computer and would need to get it repaired.” As for the “any key” question, she now calls it “something that is commonly encountered . . . I’m not kidding.”

Like her former co-workers, the informant now brings out these stories to share with other tech support workers: “I would tell it—I’m sure I would do it in a way if we were doing, uh, pretty much like battle stories from a war . . . but from the front lines of tech support.”

Since the computer problems in these stories actually happen, it is likely that the stories themselves have a polygenetic source—multiple users who have probably never seen anyone else use the CD drive as a cup holder do so of their own accord. Folklore about the personal computer, of course, has a terminus post quem of its invention; tech support for personal computers is a relatively new concept and thus the occupational folklore associated with its practitioners must of necessity also be rather new. However, these two stories do seem to be widespread, appearing in user manuals, technical textbooks, and even fiction books, as a passage from a short story by Carson W. Bryan demonstrates (71).

Source: Bryan, Carson W. Let’s Find Out. New York: Xulon Press, 2010.

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