Author Archives: davitt@usc.edu

It Makes Sense If You Don’t Think About It

“It makes sense if you don’t think about it.”

This folk phrase was said by a friend during class. This example is somewhat different from the others because the performer did not know it was folklore. He noted:

“I legitimately thought I made it up.”

“I mean, like, it’s probably from somewhere else, but just like subliminally messaged.”

Here is another example of this phrase, used ast the title of an article: http://www.rweconomics.com/It_makes_Sense_If_You_Don’t_Think_About_It.htm

It is somewhat of a parody of a different common phrase: it makes sense if you think about it. This variation refers to things that only make sense in general terms, and stop making sense under scrutiny.

Failing to Prepare Is Preparing to Fail

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

This proverb was told by a classmate after our class had ended. I asked him to describe a proverb that he liked.

“Okay, so my proverb is, uh, ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail.’ Um, I use it a lot ‘cause I think preparation is key in order for you to succeed. And I think I apply that not, not only to work and school but also to sports, ‘cause the more we practice and the more we train, uh, the better will…the outcome will be.”

Dongle

The folk term “dongle” requires a bit of history. When the iPhone 7 came out, Apple announced that they had removed the headphone jack from the bottom of the phone. To work around this, they sold adapters that would allow people to plug headphones into their new iPhones. The folkspeech that refers to these adapters was described to me by a friend outside of a party.

“A dongle now is, is referring to the dongle that allows you to listen to music with your regular, like, three, like your regular eighth inch adapter, your aux adapter into your iPhone, which doesn’t have that port anymore. And if it were called adapter, people would just, it would, it would sort of be a normal thing. But because it’s like, ‘Aw, man, I don’t have the dongle with me,’ or something, like, ‘I can’t listen to music now.’ It’s just like, I think it really is a derogatory – or at least it has a bad connotation to it.”

“The word ‘dongle’ to me has always been adapter. I don’t know when it started. Uh, I’d say that the connotation of dongle, as opposed to adapter, is negative, right? Like a dongle is sort of like something that is like unwieldy, that you don’t wanna be carrying around.”

Homebrewing

The folk practice of homebrewing was described to me by a friend as we ate lunch in a dining hall. There is no official recipe for this practice, and my friend’s homebrewing was influenced by many sources, both official and unofficial. ‘A’ refers to my friend, and ‘B’ refers to me.

A: What I do is I make homemade uh, hard ginger ale. So, um, it’s a pretty interesting process that…I mean like, I kind of crafted this recipe from a bunch of different recipes. Um, I have no clue where these recipes came from, but…

B: Where did you find them?

A: Uh, online, word of mouth, uh, I have some homebrewing friends who sent me, you know, their family recipes and stuff. Uh, and so, yeah, I started taking bits and pieces from uh, those recipes and…made uh… It’s become, it’s become a hobby, you know? Like, like, I mean on one end, you know, it’s cool ‘cause, like, you get, you know, a good beverage. But on the other hand, it’s like, it’s this…thing that you piece together, uh, from multiple different sources and craft it into your own thing. And you get your own sort of take on all these other forms of this…the same drink, just different, you know, recipes.

 

Ghost Light

“The ghost light, oh. Honestly I don’t know a whole lot. I remember, I know…so what it looks like is, it’s this…it’s kind of like a stand that has wheels, with a light on top. Usually blue, I think. At least, the one I saw was blue. Um, and I believe it’s there…I know it’s there at the beginning of plays. Like, I think it’s to light up the stage so that there’s some sort of lighting so that people can see somewhat and don’t fall, ‘cause stages are dangerous.”

This folk object/tradition was described by a friend after class ended. She worked in theaters (where this tradition takes place) during high school, but she does not anymore.

I asked what she knew about the origin of the name:

“I haven’t really heard many stories about it that have to do with the name. Um, yeah, I don’t remember why it’s called ghost light. Maybe ‘cause it floats, and people are like, ‘Floating lights are ghosts!’ But I really don’t know.”