tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Fri Mar 08 13:47:13 2002
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Re: Armpit Revisions
I was there also, and vividly remember the event. I can coroborate
evertything SuStel has said.
At 01:40 PM 03/06/2002 -0500, you wrote:
>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.