USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘homeless’
Humor

Guitar Players Without Girlfriends

What is being performed?
DA: I have another musician joke.
AA: What is it?
DA: What do you call a guitar player without a girlfriend?
AA: What?
DA: Homeless.
Why do they know or like this piece? where/who did they learn it from? What does it mean to
them?
AA: Why do you know this joke?
DA: I probably heard it on rode from a musician friend.
AA: Why do you like it?
DA: I think it’s kind of funny, but also somewhat real. It’s hard to make money doing music and I
think this joke is able to laugh at that pain.

Context of the performance- where do you perform it? History?
AA: Where do you perform this joke?
DA: I usually perform this joke to young musicians to instill a sense of reality in them but also to
my older musician friends to share struggle and laughter with them. I only really share it with the
musician community, although, I think anyone could get the joke.

Reflection:
I really like this joke because I feel like even if you’re not a musician, you can get it. I think it’s
straight forward and highlights the struggle of being a guitar player while adding another
element of dependency. I think it’s interesting to view the girlfriend in the joke as the person who
is economically supporting the relationship.

Childhood
Narrative

Overnight Resident in Campus Shack

Item:

“There was no way we were going to see what made the sound, we were way to scared.”

The informant went to an elementary school that had a wooden structure in the middle of the playground that held all of the playground equipment. The structure was a bit ominous looking, with a pointed roof and fencing over the windows when it was closed down. The kids would sign up for shift to man the shack, and it was their job to hand out things like balls or jump ropes when other kids would request them. At the end of the day, it was the child’s job to get everything back and put things where they should be. The shack was then closed by fences being pulled over the windows and the door being shut.

There was a rumor among the students that someone would break into the shack and live in it overnight. This was reinforced by their own reports of things being moved around by the next morning after closing it up. The person who supposedly lived in the shack was homeless and came and went when nobody was around. On one occasion, when the informant stayed late for daycare, he and his friends apparently heard a crash sound come from the shack, although they opted to not investigate.

 

Context:

According to the informant, the rumor of the man in the playground hut originated some time around when he was there, so it wasn’t terribly old. But it lasted through his entire time there and didn’t really lose believability among children, even into middle school. The instance of him hearing a noise come from it at night was, he admitted, likely just something falling over, but it was more than enough confirmation as a child for him.

 

Analysis:

The most interesting part of this story is the fact that the rumor didn’t fade as the children got older. Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that the story itself isn’t so farfetched that middle schoolers would rule it out as impossible. Something like an axe murderer or magical being living in the shack would lose realism as children got older and rationalized things, but the possibility of someone sneaking onto campus and taking up temporary residence in an unlocked hut is there. It’s easy to say the stuff got moved around just naturally, or someone cleans up the shack at night from the school, but the fact that nothing in the story is “out of this world” makes it even more haunting to a certain extent.

general

party man

There was a man a few decades ago in the Pasadena/Attadena area of California who tried Ecstasy for the first time when he was 13, and after that his life changed for good and his life became one of sin. He went to crazy parties all the time, especially at this one man named Zaraketh’s house which was at the top of this hill on a one-way street. Zaraketh hosted parties lasting for a week or longer, his house essentially becoming a nudist colony.  After Zaraketh died, he is said to have left his house to the homeless, so now if you drive up the hill at night, your car is swarmed by crazy homeless people.

Digital
general

The Purple Pants Man

From interview with informant:

“Um, something called the purple pants man, which is a man who wears purple spandex. We don’t know his age. He could be immortal, he could be eighty, he could be forty. He’s old-ish. And he wears spandex pants. He always has a sharpie in his mouth. He can’t see very well so he has like big-ass glasses. He’s basically like a really old punk/goth, uh, think of somebody from a club in like, Blade Runner. He’s always like in the public library walking around. I don’t know if he has a job. I think he’s a drug dealer. I’m not exactly sure. We don’t know what he is.”

“So basically if you spot him, you have to inform everybody else that you made a sighting. Eventually there was a Facebook group called ‘I’ve Seen the Purple Pants Man.’ There was like a secret photo someone took of him in the library on a computer, like sharpie in his mouth. He has like, I don’t even know, there’s so many weird things about this dude. He has like a cart he moves around sometimes. He has like an old, beat-up car. His mental faculties probably aren’t all there. And, um, what else? I think he tried to sell somebody drugs sometime? I’m not sure exactly. But he’s like, he’s just a character we see all the time. And we’re like ‘Oh, it’s him.’ Nobody knows who it is, nobody talks to him.”

An entertaining bit of folklore with enough detail and flavor to convince me, at least, that the purple pants man exists. I especially like the creation of the Facebook group to spread word of the Purple Pants Man’s activities, keeping him firmly in the minds of the community.

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