tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Wed Mar 06 18:41:35 2002

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RE: Armpit Revisions

THAT seems to be the way I remember it. THAT and the tortures spasms Seqram
went into! ;-)

Maybe we could get into another round of b-I-ng-o-'??


-----Original Message-----
From: David Trimboli []
Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 1:40 PM
Subject: Armpit Revisions

From: <>
> So, we had this funny story to tell Okrand at the next qep'a'. He heard it
> laughed with the rest of us, but then got a mischevious grin and said,
"But you
> know, there really is a Klingon word for 'armpit'."
> This got our attention. We uttered a collective, "Really? What is it?"
> He grinned and said, {'I'}.

The "mischievous" or "mysterious" grin of Okrand is frequently
misremembered, and then used to add in one's own interpretation of an event.
Phrases like "trademark smile" should NOT be used when trying to impart
information about what Okrand is saying.

The story of /'I'/ is often told, and nearly always told incorrectly.  I
have a crystal clear memory of the event, but I can only ask you to trust me
on that.  What makes my rendition any more correct than someone else's?
Well, because it IS what happened.  I very intentionally committed that
moment to memory as soon as it happened, because I recognized that it was a
classic moment.  (That, and when I insist I remember an event, any
verifyable details virtually always prove me right.)

The most important thing to keep in mind: OKRAND DOESN'T SPEAK KLINGON.  And
at this time (qep'a' wejDIch), he didn't even have much of a grasp of the
vocabulary.  He could use the dictionary just fine, but little of it was
stored in his head.

Seqram was telling about how the illegitimate word /'I'/ came to be.  Okrand
was there and listening with the rest of us; we'd formed a small circle on
chairs and the floor, mostly to sit around Okrand.  Seqram got to the gag,
where the torturous derivation of where the word /'I'/ had actually come
from was summarized.

Okrand didn't quite get it.  Not being a Klingon speaker, he wasn't
completely following the story.  When Seqram was finished, and everybody had
had their laugh, Okrand asked what the word for armpit WAS, probably
figuring that would make the story a little clearer for him.

This was, of course, more irony than we could resist, and most of us, in
concert, asked, "What IS the word for armpit?" some in amusement (like
myself), and some genuinely asking him, despite the enormous pressure at the
time not to pester Okrand for any new words.

This made it click for him.  There WASN'T a word for "armpit," and now he
understood that.  There was a slight pause, and then his sense of irony
kicked in and he said, quietly, and totally straight-faced, "'I'."  That's
when we started howling.

I appreciate the /'I'/ event for Okrand's excellent sense of irony and humor
(and good-naturedness), not for any clever or devious jokes he allegedly
created.  When finally confronted with a semi-serious request for a new
word, he chose the one that was the funniest choice available: the one we
kept insisting it wasn't.

Stardate 2178.7

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