HUSH yo mouth!

i was trying to figure out how to title this small tale as a play on mark twain's a conneticut yankee in king arthur's court. i can't do it. any suggestions are welcome... (pedantic example: a tennessee troglodyte in the boston area. you'll understand in a minute.)

one of my art-making/art-writing heroes is a guy named greg sholette. i've mentioned him on here before. He was part of an arts collective called REPOhistory that started in new york back in 1989. i'm citing that group as being an important source for my work...or, more accurately, i'm simply re-doing one of their projects. (but that's okay. i didn't know anything about them back when i came up with my version).

so anyway, after a neighborhood group meeting i went to tonight, i was talking to a person who had identified themselves during the meeting as having done some community-driven art. she told me she was interested in my project and that she was a founding member of a group called REPOhistory. well, i was bowled over. it was like meeting a rock star. But there's a problem--here's the conversation we had:

(name changed to protect the innocent)

janet: ...so i was a member of a group called Repohistory and...

walter: Holy shit, man!

janet: Oh, you're familiar...

walter: You probably know gregory sholette then!

janet: Yeah, sure, greg and i have been best of friends for 18 or so years.

walter: HUSH yo mouth!

janet: (long pause) Really?

walter: (slightly confused) Excuse me?

janet: (perhaps aggressively) Should i really?

walter: Should you really what?

janet: Hush. My. Mouth?

well, i was dumbstruck. i think i said "uhhhhhhhhhh...." and then finally i was able to say:

"i guess that's southern for "Wow."

i'm not real sure even now if she understood.


mary said...

i wanted to leave a comment and then realized i didn't know what to say. it's just simply funny.

Kevin O'Mara said...

You know how there are some people's voices you can hear in your head, regardless of how long it's been since you've actually heard that person?

If someone came up to me today and said, "Hey, you know what Walter Biffle sounds like when he's talking?" I probably wouldn't have an immediate answer. HOWEVER, I totally heard your voice when I read you saying, "Hush yo mouth" and that made me smile.

christiemckaskle said...

So funny, the things I walk around assuming everybody knows. But I was in Janet's position the first time one of my African American girlfriends screamed, "Shut up!" in the middle of a story. For a second I thought I'd offended her, but she was actually very impressed and meant "You're kidding!"

claire said...

Your "troglodyte" title is probably right on in terms of her interpretation. As a northerner who has now lived in the south for 8+ years I think that northerners 1) deny regional identity and 2) interpret any vestiges of southern identity as racist, backward, etc. So I think she "heard" you chanelling an always already inauthentic and problematic "southernism" rather than hearing an impulsive southern expression of "holy shit!"

Maig said...

really funny walter.

"Hush Yo mouth"
"Shut Up!
"oh no you didn't"

are all really fun ways of saying wow.

let's think of some more shall we?

Alison said...

Ooo, Claire said "always already" on the blog. I love "always already," and I'm not sure that anyone has said it here yet.

Little nerd love here.

Alison said...

Just a minor point here:

Biffle doesn't have a deep south accent, so he doesn't actually say "hush yo mouth." It's more like "hush yer mouth." Foghorn Leghorn says "yo," but we will all agree that he and Biffle don't sound that much alike. Biffle's accent is more like the Hatfields and McCoys.

Walter said...

yes, alison. thank you for clarifying. we all know that i sound like chainsaw in heat--HOWEVER, in this particular instance--and what even makes it worse--is that i was role-playing. i actually did say "yo." i affected the hand wave and everything.