USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘true’
general

One True God

“The one true god, Nicolas Cage. His light guides us away from the temptation of John Travolta, and saves us from our bees. His known prophets are Stephen King, who controls the mind, and M. Night Shyamalan, whose endings are always unforeseen. Follow their instructions, and you may achieve Mitt Romney, a state of eternal salvation and peace. He is a sworn enemy of Xenu and his minion Obama, and fights against the aliens with the help of the FSM, commander of pirates.”

 

This piece of cyberlore/jokelore is essentially the creed of those who worship actor Nicolas Cage as the “one true god.” This form of praise for Cage is entirely sarcastic, and it has been extremely popular on the internet because of Cage’s notoriously bad acting. It’s not clear why Nic Cage was chosen to be the subject of this faux-worship, but it seems to just have caught on and stuck for years, and it is pretty hilarious for some reason. I’ve been aware of the one true god for a while via my frequenting of the website Reddit, whose users have a particular penchant for Cage.

 

general
Humor
Riddle

Albacore Riddle

 

Albacore Riddle

Personal Background:

Lillian Tran is a 19 year old student at the University of California, Irvine studying journalism. She has grown up in a one hundred percent Vietnamese family, and is very proud of many traditions her family has.

Riddle:

There is one riddle she loves to tell since it is very difficult.

“A man who took a bite of an albacore sandwich, and then he started to cry. Why did he do that?”

The way this type of riddle works that the people who are answering it can only ask yes or no questions to the person who asked it. Through a series of questions, it turns out that the man is blind, and at one time, he was on a desert island with his friend and his wife. His friend had told him his wife had died and that they should eat the albacore they had. The man is crying because the albacore sandwich he is eating does not taste like the albacore he ate on island, meaning that he was not eating the albacore, but he was eating his wife, and he could not tell since he was blind.

Lillian first heard this riddle on Thanksgiving with her family. She had to sit at the kid’s table since she was younger. To pass the time, her cousins started telling her riddles. It scared her more than anything. She was afraid something like this could actually happen to her. It has made her afraid of albacore sandwiches ever since.

Analysis:

Riddles tend to not be very popular in the United States, and tend to be seen more for children. They really play on the power of words, and can have different meaning for different people. This is known as a “true riddle” since there are enough clues asked throughout that the person should be able to answer.

To me, this riddle is a way to stay connected with her family and to have a good time with her friends. It is a fun party trick to be able to come up with this riddle, and it can bring a conversation to the room. It is a way to get people in a room to converse when things get tense because everyone has to agree on questions to ask. Riddles are a fun way to play brain games and come up with games for everyone.

general
Magic
Myths

Scissor Lock

Scissor lock

The Informant:

My friend, was born in Los Angeles, CA. He is an only child and stayed in Southern California his whole life. He came over to my room one day and I randomly asked him if he had any good stories. I asked him specifically if he ever heard about the scissor lock and he told me:

The Story:

You’re asleep. You wake up in the middle of the night and you’re in your room. You see a figure in a corner – a grandma. She’s a Korean grandma wearing traditional clothing, not the nice kind of the type that commoners and poor people wear, with gray hair. She’s sitting on a chair, moaning and weeping. You want to get up and talk to her but you can’t. All you can do is move your eyes. You look to the right and it’s a blank wall. You look back at the grandma and she’s gone. Suddenly you feel a presence at the base of your head. You want to look up but you can’t – you’re petrified. You want to do something but you can’t because you’re stuck. You can’t move. Then I started saying prayers and singing praise songs and everything went away.  You wake up with your arms crossed and hands on your shoulders, like a scissor.

 This never happened to me, thankfully, but I know people who have experienced it.

The Analysis:

The scissor lock is an occurrence that I first came across two years ago. When I asked my friend to tell me this story, it was late at night around 11pm. The room was very bright and the story did not seem scary at the time. The scissor lock appears to be a common occurrence among Koreans, Korean Christians especially. This version included specifically seeing a grandma clothed in old, dirty clothes. It is not known whether this is a general case of a specific case for just my friend. The name scissor lock appears to come from the position in which one wakes up in, with your arms crossed diagonally across the body.

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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