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Friday, September 18, 2009

The Homer Curse

When you first hear the word "Homer," what do you think of?

If you answered The Illiad and The Odyssey, you are among the few. (And, I think, in the preferred crowd.) If you answered The Simpsons, join with the masses that think of a bald, yellow, cartoon character every time I introduce myself. (Yes, I know, BJ and his family have been dealing with this for far longer than I have. But it's still new to me.)

A week or two ago, Kessa and I took the car into Jiffy Lube to get the oil changed. The guy helping me was a young, funny, black guy. When I told him my last name, he started giggling. (I love it when guys giggle.) "Like, the Simpsons?" After a year plus of having this last name, I've stopped trying to disassociate myself with the Simpsons. "Heh. Yeah. Like the Simpsons." He giggled some more. Later, when my car was done, he came out giggling again. "Mrs. Simpsons with the Honda? Your car is done." Everyone else in the waiting room looked at me like, "Is her name really Mrs. Simpsons?" He looked at Kessa and asked, "And is this Maggie?" I turned to her, "I dunno. Are you a crazy little girl like Maggie?" Kessa grinned.

My brothers love the Simpsons. Now, I'm not against the Simpsons. I've seen a few episodes here and there and I'll admit that I think they're sometimes funny. But they're also often crude. So… I definitely don't go out of my way to watch them. I've found over the years that despite rarely watching the show, I've somehow incorporated much of the show into my vocabulary. I assume this is due to the fact that I tend to pick up on other people's phrases and many of the people I associate with love the Simpsons. I cringe every time I say "Doh!" or "I am so smart. S-M-R-T." But they are all too often the most appropriate things to say. I'm constantly amazed at how often I'll say something, and someone else will inform me that it was a Simpsons quote. I think I'm doomed.

Today I was chatting with my brother, Damian.

Tianna: "meh."
Damian: "What does that mean?"
Tianna: "it's a sound. The sound I would make if we were talking in person."
Damian: "is it like hmmm?"
Tianna: "No. It's like… meh. Like, I don't care that much. No big deal."

I've never been good at defining words. So, at this point, I decided to take my query to the Internets. Wikipedia to the rescue! To my horror, this is what I found:

It was actually spelled out in The Simpsons when Homer is trying to pry the kids away from the TV with a suggestion for a day trip. They both just reply 'meh' and keep watching TV; he asks again and Lisa says 'We said MEH! M-E-H, meh!'
The word gained popularity as a result of its use on The Simpsons. It was used in the 1992 episode Homer's Triple Bypass by Lisa describing being the MTV Generation. It was used in a 1994 episode, "Sideshow Bob Roberts," when a librarian reacts to Lisa's surprise that voting records are not classified, and also in "Lisa's Wedding" after Marge weaves "Hi Bart" on a loom to try to pique his interest in weaving and he says "meh." Lisa, in the 2001 episode "Hungry, Hungry Homer", spells out the word for emphasis, after Homer tries to interest her and Bart into going to a theme park.
It's official. I am cursed. (But I still love you, BJ!)


Optimistic. said...

True, the later seasons (i.e., anything after season 8) are pretty crude and rely on that sort of humor for a cheap laugh, but the first few seasons are fantastic. You'd be surprised at how clean, wholesome, and heartwarming they are.

I guess I'm trying to say give them a chance before you write off the whole series as garbage.

MegRuth said...

My friend Christina just married a guy with the last name Homer too! I just realized it today and then you did this post about your last name, weird.

I wonder if you're related!

Stacie said...

That is the funniest thing I've read all day! You've gone from Tianna cookie to Tianna Homer Simpson! If you ever run into my dad again, you'll have to tell him, he'd get a kick out of it!