31 January 2005

it's elementary

Last night I was teaching my creative writing class at "Hebrew High." As I am wont to do in more appropriate settings, I burped, albeit a muffled, barely audible belch. Still, I excused myself, and my students asked me why I excused myself. I explained that I burped.

Then I asked them if they remembered in elementary school when someone burped or farted, and everyone quickly brought their thumbs to their foreheads and cried out the name of a fruit.

Whaaaaa?!!? was their reaction, followed by peals of laughter. They had never heard of this commonplace cafeteria behavior.

They asked what saying a fruit possibly signified. I replied that I thought it was some sort of metaphorical immunity (against what, I don't know) much like knocking your fists together and saying "lifetime detour" did.

Of course, they had never heard of "lifetime detour" either.

Is this a generational difference or were these superstitions strictly concoctions of my hometown? Or perhaps an Akron versus Cleveland thing, like calling the grass between the sidewalk and street a "devil strip" versus a "tree lawn".

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