Thursday, August 23, 2007

Teh "teh"

Tracey needs to know... why "teh"? Why not just "the"? Why is "the" teh suq?

Well now, there are probably a few explanations, all with varying amounts of truth in them. My thought was always that it was a faux-cool thing to do; the kind of thing you type on the Interwebs to show that you were a with-it, happening sort. (i.e. - "Interwebs" instead of "web" or "internet.") And this can get you into deep waters, mentally.

For example, is it showing off? Is it because it's genuinely fun? Is it to gain acceptance with the much cooler kids who started it - who hung out on their own, intentionally becoming unpopular to be noticed (and thus popular again); the kids who only wore black and all piled into the oldest junior's land yacht to eat lunch at Roy Rogers and who said "coin of the realm" whenever they needed to pay for anything; the kids who watched Captain Kangaroo for no other reason than to publicly discuss it in post-ironic tones of dismissal. (Naturally, they would change expressions to re-isolate themselves the moment a certain number of outsiders picked up their trend-setting lingo.)

And on top of that are the personal expressions that others may adopt as their own version of "teh." My own pet expressions include such things as -

frolic through the catnip
we're golden

There are others I use all the time that I don't even notice unless the Ladybug says something. (There are a couple of more that the Ladybug uses that I have fallen into using as well.)

So, to kind of answer Tracey's question... "teh" is, for me, a fun intentional misspelling meant to give me the flimsy veneer of hip I require as a blogger of today. One-third or so of that means intentionally mocking myself by using it. And maybe 2% of it is, in my case, a reminder of a kid I knew.

This kid's name started with T. He was a beginner chessplayer, and we were mean little gits towards him. Whenever he did something outrageously bad in a game, one of us would dock him a letter, as if his name were a Scrabble rack. Soon, he was just T-. And then he was gone.

Now, I can mock the intentionally uncool kids all I like, but they at least have this excuse - they are usually defending themselves from jackasses like me, embracing their isolation rather than having it imposed on them. In this case, I joined in when I was old enough to know better - having started out quite like T-, like the other uncool kids: mocked for nerdish chess bookism, for loud high-pitched sci-fi enthusiasms, for being to the youngest and smallest kid in my grade (put in a freshman gym class my sophomore year because everyone was terrified I'd get hurt). I dodged the one trap, but got older and forgot all about it - and fell headlong into the other trap.

T- is pronounced "tuh." "Teh" is pronounced like "eh" with a "tuh" at the front. In other words, we demoted that poor kid lower than a stupid Internet joke, erased his name, chewed him up and spat him out every damn Thursday.

Deep waters, indeed. I hope he was pulled to shore by someone much kinder than we were.

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