Author Archives: kkussman

Frat Initiation: Fight Night

Background: The informant was born and raised in southern California. He is a sophomore at the University of Southern California and joined greek life in the spring semester of his freshman year. The following is a ritual that occurred at the end of his freshman spring semester just prior to his graduation from “pledge” to… Continue Reading »

Dead Baby Joke

Piece: Informant: What is worse than ten dead babies stapled to one tree? Collector: I don’t know. What? Informant: One dead baby stapled to ten trees.  Context: The piece was collected during a casual interview. I grew up hearing the informant telling dead baby jokes so I asked her to participate in an interview to… Continue Reading »

Lifting Your Legs Over Train Tracks for Good Luck

Context: The informant and I were driving in the car when we passed over train tracks and she told me the piece. The piece was collected in its natural performance setting. Background: The informant is my mother, who is a third generation Irish immigrant. She learned the piece as a child from her parents who… Continue Reading »

Haunted House on Clinton Street in Brooklyn

Piece: Informant: “See that house right there?” Collector: “Yeah.” Informant: “Some guy killed his wife there and now it’s haunted. There have been like six people who have lived there since and they all sold the house within like three months of living there.”  Collector: “Do you know for sure that the guy killed his… Continue Reading »

British Bus Driver Joke

Piece: Informant:  *Speaking in an artificial British accent* Bus driver pulls up to a bus stop, opens the door, looks out and there’s a guy standing there. This guy has one leg, three eyes, no arms.  So the bus driver looks at him and says, “Aye aye aye, you look ‘armless.”  Background: The informant was… Continue Reading »