Author Archives: Codie Sander

The Magic Potion

”The ingredients are: apple cider vinegar, lemon, garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper, honey, and hot water. About a class worth for whoever is taking it. You can use it for pretty much anything. Whenever I’m feeling sick I’ll use it; all the ingredients have really good properties, so one of them is bound to help with something. I always use it when I have the flu.”

“My mom would always tell me to drink apple cider vinegar with honey and hot water, for pretty much anything that was wrong with you. I never really liked it like that. One of my friends gave me this recipe. You’d think the extra ingredients would make it taste worse, but they actually make it a lot easier to drink.”

Home remedies are often a popular way of dealing with everyday maladies, especially those which science currently has no “cure” or treatment for. The informant stated that she uses the remedy for a wide variety of ills, with the expectation that one of the ingredients is bound to help somehow. She had originally gotten a variety of the “potion” from her mother; which is common with home remedies. As parents are often a primary source of information while growing up, people have a tendency to retain lessons or advice from them, even as they grow older.

The informant stated that she never enjoyed the taste of her Mom’s remedy, though she would still use it if she got sick. Eventually she heard of the alternate form from a friend; she stated that she liked the flavor of the new formula more, and now uses that as an alternate. This shows an interesting fluctuation in the phenomenon stated above. Though she respected and followed her Mom’s advice for the remedy, she was also willing to change the recipe slightly into one which suited her tastes better. This illustrates how folk remedies can change over time: ingredients can be added (or removed in some cases) in order to better fit the sensibilities or tastes of the new user.

Verbal Gratuity

“My dad always told me that when a customer at work says “Oh you’re a great waiter!”, they call it a ‘verbal gratuity’. Sometimes they actually do give a good tip, but my Dad says a lot of the time that compliment is the only tip they get. That’s why they also call it the ‘kiss of death’.”

An example of occupational folk speech, this piece illustrates the experience of working as a waiter in a restaurant. As they depend heavily on tips, the amount that a customer tips them can have a huge effect on the happiness and wellbeing of a waiter. I imagine an instance such as this, in which a customer seems satisfied with the service but still does not leave a tip, can be even more frustrating than it would be otherwise.


Make something round

Informant places 5 sticks on the counter, all parallel to each other.

“Make something round from these sticks, only moving two of them.”

The informant takes the two outside sticks, and places them perpendicular to and above the 2nd and 5th sticks. This forms three letters, which together spell “TIT”.

“So when I was about 10 or so, I went out to visit my uncle. I always used to visit him during the summer. By this time, I was getting older and I had always had older brothers, so, ya know, I was starting to figure some things out. I guess my uncle picked up on this and wanted to initiate me into becoming a man or something. So I go to his house, and he asks if I want to hear a riddle. I say yes, so he lays out 5 sticks and asks him to make something round while only moving two. I consider myself smart, but I couldn’t figure it out. So he shows me, and he got so excited about it.”

This particular riddle seems to be something of a coming-of-age ritual, a way to initiate a young boy into becoming a teenager. This transition is often accompanied by increased interest in sex. This riddle seems to be a way to gradually push the subject over the liminal, and onto the path toward adulthood.

What’s the difference…

”What’s the difference between a waitress and a toilet?

A waitress only has to deal with one asshole at a time!”

“I originally heard this one from my Mom, she worked as a waitress and would even tell this joke to customers sometimes! It always makes me laugh, because it’s true!”

Jokes are often shared among those in the same occupation, often as a way of connecting about shared experience. In this instance, the joke seems to reference two integral parts of working as a waitress: the possibility of getting unruly or rude customers, and the need to balance multiple customers at once.

I found the fact that the informant’s Mom could even share this joke with customers interesting. The universal plight of the waitress is well known even to those outside the liminal, and as such the humor can be appreciated even by those to whom it is pointed at.

Not sure if…


”I love the ‘thoughtful Fry’ meme. It’s from Futurama. I love the meme probably because it’s from Futurama, and I love Futurama. It’s one of the more memorable of the memes I have seen, and I like that it’s relatable. It also changes a lot and has a lot of different types. Memes are interesting for that reason, there’s always a new one coming out.”

Memes, as a newly minted product of internet culture, often deal with or reference certain aspects of contemporary popular culture. Futurama is, in many ways, a staple of modern young adult culture; it is something most young adults recognize easily and a large portion of them are dedicated fans. As a comedy series, it is easy to see why something from Futurama could be adapted into a meme. Memes often thrive by being relatable and relevant, and utilizing something from a show near-and-dear to the hearts of many a millennial is a recipe for success.