OED appeals to professors and madmen
October 8, 2012 11:01 AM   Subscribe

Has anyone seen a blue-arsed fly? Someone must have cooties. This is no FAQ, can you make a make a defining contribution to the OED?
posted by stbalbach (5 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I've heard of the blue-tail fly.
posted by Chuffy at 11:18 AM on October 8, 2012

I once worked with a very sweet Jordanian woman who spoke perfect if accented English. I think she grew up in a dual language household in Jordan.

In any case we got to playing around one day and when she went to poke me I jumped back and said "Oh no, girl cooties!". I thought nothing more of it until the next day when she came in and said "Tell Me No Lies, why did you say I had body lice yesterday?"

An explanation ensued as well as an interesting discussion about how children are raised in both countries, and how in Jordan there are no cootie epidemics like we suffer in the United States. By the age there would be cooties the boys and girls are already separated.

We had a separate later moment of cultural collision when I pretended to block this sweet mid-thirties mother in her cube and she said "What are you going to do? Piss on the floor so I'll slip?"

As I gaped she looked at me and said "I'm sorry, did that not translate correctly?"

I stuttered a bit and said "Yes, but I was a bit surprised." Further conversation revealed that all Jordanians male and female do a stint in the army, and that she was the sweetest, nicest woman I've ever met who can field strip an AK-47.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:29 AM on October 8, 2012 [10 favorites]

I found, and dutifully submitted to their lexicographers, a first usage ante-dating the OED's a couple of years ago — something I'd just randomly tripped over that clanged strangely enough in my ear while trawling through 19th-century newspapers that I stopped to look it up. The OED's email in response was quite surprisingly nice, and thoughtfully appreciative, about it. My contribution hasn't shown up in the dictionary yet, but I still feel entirely happy about the experience. So I guess what I'm saying is A+++ WOULD SUBMIT USAGE DATA AGAIN.
posted by RogerB at 11:57 AM on October 8, 2012

Oh, that entry is soooo wrong. Every kid knows that handwashing with soap and water DOES NOT remove cooties. The only protection is a cootie shot, and the only way to sanitize is with a cootie catcher made from some other kid's homework.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:20 PM on October 8, 2012

BlueHorse, I am afraid there is a substantial body of existing law on this and you're quite wrong.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:13 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

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