January 19, 2003

Ya Put Your Right Foot In

You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself about. I, on the other hand, do not. I'm sorry but I began my non-conformity the first time I was asked to shake it all about in a Sunday School class as a child. I had the nerve to ask the teacher what was the point of this silliness. My rebellion apparently created quite a little temptest at the Methodist Church and gained me a reputation as a resister. I confess that I have been a non-joiner ever since... unless I know who and what and why I am joining.

This little Sunday School episode left indelible marks on my tiny psyche, and ever since, when rebelling particularly against some element of church polity, liturgy or silly tradition that makes me feel like a mindless sheep, I have grumbled to myself as I tied my tie and put on my stiff big person's clothes of acceptable status that "its time to go do the Holy Hokey Pokey again". Apparently, I was more on target with this phrase then I had realized.

Found. Re the silly sheep dance called the Hokey Pokey. Source reliability uknown: The origins of this song date back into history. It was used as a skit on the Roman Catholic "Holy Communion" from whence came the title "HOKEY COKEY". How "Cokey" turned into "Pokey" I don’t know.

That said, you understand why it was important for me to know what it is I have become since starting back to school (sort of) at Virginia Tech. Some of you will know that they are known as the HOKIES. Hokey smoke, Batman, I'm a HOKIE. What the heck is that! And does my belonging to this group confer any requirements to do the POKEY before entering class? I had to know while there was still time to pull my right foot out.

It apparently had been rumoured that a HOKIE is a castrated turkey (the team's mascot is a gobbler ... go figure). I am comforted to find that this is not the case. I am appalled on the other hand to learn that the name HOKIE is derived from the now immortal winning cheer of a 1896 cheerleader's fight song competition:

Hoki, Hoki, Hoki, Hy.

Techs, Techs, V.P.I.

Sola-Rex, Sola-Rah.

Polytechs - Vir-gin-ia.

Rae, Ri, V.P.I.

Good Grief! I haven't read the fine print in the student handbook yet. I'm still a little nervous that at some point in the semester we will all be asked to stand up at our desks and perform the Hokie Ritual Dance. My only comfort is that, now fifty years after my first defiance in the threat of this silliness, I'm sure that I can get an excuse from my doctor. Shaking things all about at my age is liable to break something. On the other hand, it is comforting to finally know at this late point in my life, that THISis what it's all about.

Posted by fred1st at January 19, 2003 06:38 AM | TrackBack

After having spent time at institutions or locales where the mascots were similarly ambiguous (Hoosiers and Buckeyes), I am glad to report that I now have a very straightforward, easy-to-mentally-configure mascot at my home institution . . . the Coyote. (Go Yotes! (To be proclaimed with the exceedingly long O's found amongst Minnesotans and witnessed in the movie "Fargo.")

Posted by: Artichoke Heart at January 19, 2003 01:53 PM

Beats the heck out of "Boomer Sooner", if you ask me.

Posted by: CGHill at January 19, 2003 07:49 PM

If Hokey Pokey is to be making fun of RC rites, perhaps not "cokey" but "pokey" is the correct form: "Hocus Pocus" comes from the Latin words "Hoc es Corpus Meum" (This is My Body) as spoken by the priest at Mass.

At which point the "let's all do the same sort of physical act" becomes making fun of the way all the folks in Church make the smae gestures at the same time.

I only say "if" it is... because it seems odd that that bit of cultural backwash would go unnoted in this day of law suits. I'm thinking "class action" of all Catholic children made to do the Hokey Pokey ever. Could be quite a cash pay out.

Posted by: Huw Raphael at January 20, 2003 02:27 AM

My Georgia teacher friend Louis Schmier (google THE COMPLETE RANDOM THOUGHTS OF LOUIS SCHMIER)says "Question the Answers" but most students do not like this concept nor do most authority wielding older types...fight the power (which I once had as a signature on my email but an authority figure said it sent the wrong message to other faculty and students and I reluctantly erased it--now it should say I LOVE BIG BROTHER...right...sg

Posted by: steve at January 21, 2003 07:44 AM

Just 'stumbled' upon this HP link, Fred...Cheers.

Posted by: boynton at January 23, 2003 08:22 AM

Actually, I've been taught that the Hokey Pokey was a propaganda song fed to school children during World War II. Hokey was a city in Japan that was considered being bombed during that time..."do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around" was then a euphemism for sodomy. This was meant as a song of vengeance, much the same as Toby Keith's lyrics of "courtesy of the red, white, and blue" were intended (we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the american way) in response to 9/11. This song was sung at town hall meetings and town gatherings to keep up morale at home... and it was taken back to the school yards to resound through the generations.

Posted by: Katrina Rhodes at January 9, 2004 07:10 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?