INCIDENT AT OGLALA

I received complaints about the recent shortage of blog posts, especially ones about  my wife.

I don’t know whether people have already mastered the previous Aleenisms and begun to incorporate them into daily life. I may conduct a pop quiz to make sure this is so, especially for the readers who complained.

Until then, however, here’s a fresh supply.

Pig in a China Shop.  Aleen was recently describing how happy her mom was at the massive monthly  flea market at the Pasadena Rose Bowl.

Her mashed-up idiom is a combination of: 1) “like a pig in shit,” which means you do love the thing; 2) “bull in a china shop,” which means you tend to cause havoc; and 3) the fact that her mother loves china and knick-knacks.

I am unsure how to use this Aleenism.  It’s still too new.  This is why people should not ask for Aleenisms before they have fully ripened.  All I know is that I asked Aleen how her mom liked the flea market, and she said, “You know her.  She was a pig in a china shop.”

I didn’t know whether to stick around to find out what it meant or hurry off to write a blogpost.

Speaking of Pasadena, Aleen uses the city name to indicate, “No, I will pass on that.” 

This may be a standard saying in film industry.  But I want to bring it to the attention of those outside Tinsel Town.

Sample usage:

“Hey, the new Transformers movie actually looks kinda good.  Should we go tonight?”

“Pasadena.”

Another saying Aleen uses frequently:  Cut to the Chase.

It’s ironic that Aleen says this because, well, I’ll leave it at the fact that it’s ironic.

One time to tell people to Cut to the Chase is when they are doing Soondure, Soondure

The latter is my rough phonetic translation for an Armenian expression when people are telling an endless story.  I think the phrase derives from the process of pulling apart string cheese into its many strands. 

As anyone who has done this knows, you can make the process last forever, if you want.   You can pull that hard cheesy coil into a fluffy cloud of wispy threadlike tendrils, and you can take an hour doing it.

So, when my 9-year-old daughter is telling a story in extraordinary detail, her Armenian grandparents turn to me and say, “Soondure, soondure,” which means, She’s stretching it.

For her part, my wife just  tells Lulu, “Cut to the chase.” 

Fear Is Strong in the Girl.  This came from the Star Wars prequel-trilogy.  One character remarked about another, ‘Fear is strong in the boy.’ 

Usually Aleen says this about herself.  If she is freaking out about something, and if she realizes she is possibly overreacting, she sheepishly admits:  “Fear is strong in the girl.”  This is another way of saying, I am being like Mary-Stuart.  I am panicking.

Speaking of freaking out, sometimes in this world, a conflict develops between two people, or indeed among a group of people.  Sometimes that conflict arises in a mundane context, or over apparently trivial matters.  One age-old expression for the latter is, a tempest in a teapot.

Aleen’s own version is,  An Incident at Oglala.

The phrase comes from a documentary film about an event which wasn’t trivial at all — the killings of  two FBI agents in 1975 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

Pine Ridge

This was the case which put Leonard Peltier behind bars for life.  The event occurred in the same area where the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre took place in 1890.  For Native Americans, the Pine Ridge shootings are a big deal.

However, my wife isn’t Native American.  In our household, an Incident at Oglala is a dispute which started out small and trivial and then mushroomed into full-on histrionics and hurt feelings, especially when the fight involved extended family.

Use this phrase as you like, but not around Native Americans.

Speaking of aggression and violence, there is a legend from my own childhood about my first day of preschool.  (Or maybe it was kindergarden.)  That night I was asked at dinner how the day went. 

 I allegedly answered with just two words, ‘Rajean pushes.’

I don’t remember saying this.  I have no idea whether I really did.  I have no idea who Rajean (pronounced RAH-zhan) was, nor whether he later turned to a life of crime.  Or ultimate fighting.

What I do know is that I told this story to Aleen years ago.  At some point through the years, whenever I was exaggerating or asking for too much or in any other way “pushing it,” she began to caution me, Don’t Push It, Rajean.

Today I hereby admonish the rest of you, too, not to push it, Rajean.  Otherwise, you risk becoming pigs in a china shop.

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About kittroyer

Kit Troyer lives in Los Angeles.
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8 Responses to INCIDENT AT OGLALA

  1. 1nsecurebrad says:

    I’m considering the yogurt stirred, Sir, but in a good way 🙂 the only thing I’m confused about is we seemed to have leapt a continent and a century from bad things happening in Armenia to bad things happening in South Dakota.

    Why do we need two Dakotas, anyway?

  2. Jason says:

    It would be great if these came daily.
    Or, in script form – at about 110 pages.

  3. Karen Todd says:

    I am still waiting for the book form. I have a place carved out for it by the toilet. This is a respectful tribute and not the slur it might seem because I happen to know that the Armenian language has a number of descriptive words for that which is expelled.

  4. Teacher of Cake Eaters says:

    Bring on the Aleenism “pop” quiz(es)! Or was that a weak threat?:)

  5. kittroyer says:

    weak threat.

    empty saber rattling.

    which will not surprise anyone who has seen my ‘parenting’ style in person.

  6. Marina says:

    Well, well, well. So, as I hope you know (though it’s been far too long since we’ve been in touch), generally speaking I live in Scotland. But for a variety of reasons I’m braving the ridiculous climate of the DC summer for about 6 weeks, and the other night was having one of those conversations with my parents where they quiz me about people I’ve not seen in 20 years, and I have to admit that I haven’t seen them for 20 years, and my mum said, ‘How about Kit Troyer?’ And though I don’t think it’s been quite 20 years, it has been quite a few, and I realised I didn’t have an answer to the question, really, beyond, ‘well, he lives in LA, and I think he’s a lawyer now…’ So as the Main Reading Room at LoC fills up around me with people reading books such as ‘the Encyclopedia of Espionage’ (seriously, sitting next to me…) and I procrastinate from the book I’m supposed to be writing, I thought I’d try to find out. And so here you are. Which is fun to read, because I can still more or less hear your voice in my head. Anyway, I wish I could come up with some pithy Scottish variations on the Aleenisms, and will try to work on that, but in the meantime, will just say hello and offer a friendly reminder that many years ago you said you’d come ancestor-hunting to Scotland, and as far as I know, you’ve not made good on that one yet…
    With all manner of nostalgia and best wishes–Marina

  7. Victoria says:

    I’m going to jump in here and urge you to make good on the promise of ancestor hunting, or whatever pretext gets you to Scotland, because you truly won’t regret it! I hate golf, but love Scotland! I have occasional dreams of chucking it all and moving to Glasgow and hanging out with Marina and never eating haggis and then finding myself calling my mom ‘mum’ someday! I love the blogs, love these Aleenisms, and look forward to meeting your blog-muse and seeing you sometime soon. In meantime, I will enjoy reading these and hearing your voice in my head and imagining all your friends doing the same. And thanks to you, Kit, I now feel like a bad aunt because I merely wrote letters to my nieces without finding ingenious ways of stuffing contraband candy in them. Damn.

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