Thursday, May 14, 2009

Owah Tizdat Toobee

You is bringed to day Bizarro by Satisfactory Discourse.

When I submitted this cartoon weeks ago, I knew it would cause some confusion. Since it appeared in papers a week ago, I've gotten dozens of emails from people who were mystified by it, which means there are many thousands more who were equally out to sea but didn't bother to write.

The cartoon refers to a game we used to play as children, one of those games that only works on someone who has never heard it before. You get them to say these three words – owah, tagu, siam – slowly, like a chant. Then you ask them to go faster, stringing the words together, until they are saying, "oh what a goose I am." Laughter ensues.

This kind of thing comes up from time to time, where I want to do a cartoon based on something I know or have heard or remember, but am not sure how common or widespread the knowledge is. I ask CHNW if she gets it and that's about all the research I do. She got this one and she was raised in Florida (I, in Oklahoma), so I figured I'd give it a try.

In addition to the emails from the dazed and confused, I got nearly as many from people who remembered the game from childhood but hadn't thought of it in years. And also one from a reader who had played a dirty version of the same thing where the end sentence makes reference to the speaker's biological habits.

That's the official report on the Great Basketball Cartoon Conundrum of 2009. Onward and upward.

23 comments:

Karl said...

Cartoon;

For those of us unfortunate ones, who never had the pleasure of playing the "Oh what a Goose I am" game, I can say that I'm sitting in front of the computer now and making up for it. Problem is; I can't get myself to say "Goose" no matter how fast I say the line. Is there a trick to this?


Blog;

Beginning to think there are a bunch of former American class clowns loose in Japan, posing as English majors/teachers.

doug nicodemus said...

my confusion was translating gus into goose..i thought what has he got against guys named gus...i was puzzled all day

well ok for about a minute or so..

Tegin said...

I want that inside cleaner.

When I was in the Argentinean Patagonia, were hundreds of "Engrish" styles menus and that kind of stuff

b0b said...

It was the mantra that Mister Natural gave to Flakey Foont. Is it older than that?

b0b said...

It was the mantra that Mister Natural gave to Flakey Foont. Is it actually older than that?

b0b said...

I found the reference I was looking for: "Ohwha Tagoo Siam"* (Mr. Natural) / R. Crumb. 11 p. in Mr.
Natural, no. 3 (1977). -- Summary: Prof. Wanowski comes for
a visit and some boiled cabbage, and Billy Bob the devoted
fan tries to get some enlightenment from his guru. -- Call
no.: PN6728.45.A6M5no.3

Jeremy said...

Boy, I love how scientific your polling is, man. You get 5-10 emails about something, and you ASSume that 50-100 people felt the same way but didn't bother emailing? That is some pretty shitty logic, I have to say. Now, if you polled at random 5-10 people and got their opinions, maybe. Epic Fail, Dan.

I saw your jab at me from your performance in December. I found it interesting that you were making to cartoon to explain why dinos are not mentioned in the Bible. I didn't even touch on that subject though. The word "dinosaur" was not invented until the 1800s, so of course dinosaur was not in the Bible. But they mention dragons a lot and behemoths which would certainly fit the description of dinosaurs that we dig up today.

Penny said...

"When Stinks"

BWAAA HAAA HAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

I really need to grow up.

isee3dtoo said...

I just couldn't figure out who "Gus" was?

Oh what a Gus I am.

Wasn't thinking bird.

drewl said...

got it right away. grew up in north idaho in the 70-80's, if that helps any...

Nick Lord said...

As kids in England we presented this as the words to the Siamese national anthem. Only the middle word was "tana" ...

patrick said...

I laughed when I saw the cartoon -- I fell for that joke 41 years ago when I was a fourth grader and have never heard it since. The friend and his sister that suckered me in thought it was hilarious... :)

anziulewicz said...

There's a rock band in San Antonio, Texas, called Sofa Kingdom. Think about it.

Robert Finis said...

"I am sofa, king! Whee! Todd, Ed!".
Repeat quickly (modern version).
Good post on the hulk.

Roel said...

Only, the coach is seeing the words in this order: 'siam tagu owah'. Unless he's from China.

(But that little inconsistancy probably hardly matters, to get the joke, if you're already familiar with the children's game. Which I wasn't).

PIRARO said...

Thanks to "b0b" for digging up the origin of this. I didn't know it was Crumb, that's cool. If I'd known, I would have spelled it the way he did.

I was just making up the spelling bu, I probably should have spelled "TAGU" as "TAGOO." By my way of thinking, that's how you'd pronounce the name "Tagu," so that's why I went for it.

@ Jeremy...
my polling system is an age-old formula developed by the periodical industry. Depending on the size of your circulation, you figure there are x number of others who feel the same way as each person who bothers to write. My cartoon (potentially) appears before many millions of eyes each day, so it isn't outrageous to suspect there are others who feel the same as those who write. It's not scientific, but it's logical.

@ Roel...
Players don't have their names on the fronts of their jerseys, so I was making the leap that the coach knew what it looked like from behind.

Roel said...

'Players don't have their names on the fronts of their jerseys, so I was making the leap that the coach knew what it looked like from behind.'

Oh okay, I'm sorry, I didn't know that. And it makes sense that a coach knows who's standing in front of him. So forget I said anything.

(I liked the joke when I got it about the children's game anyway, already).

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure the gag predates Mister Natural. I was born in 1954 and my dad pulled the prank on me, so that had to be early 60s unless I am Sofa Kingdom. And I don't think my dad had just heard it. Very likely was making the rounds in 1930s SoCal too.

rhea delisle said...

Thank you, I never would have gotten that on my own!

Anonymous said...

I didn't get the joke, because it had degraded over the years to people asking me to spell "I cup" for them. Either that, or I just went to a really low-standards school.

Karl said...

I just realized I wasn't saying the "OH" in front of "what a gus I am." By adding the O sound at the beginning of the sentence I can now say "Oh what a goose I am" without any problems.

Just thought this was important enough that you should know and I'm not as mentally challenged as many suspect:)

One of my favourites is the naughty;

"Polish it in the corner"

James said...

Oh, I get it.

I thought it was a play on this:

http://www.pyzam.com/funnypictures/details/3723?cat=all&sort=newest

Rainbow dragon said...

Hi Dan,
We had this story told to us as a rite of passage as a camper at Teton Valley Ranch in the 60's. The story teller was "Bill" and I won't compromise his anonymity, but anyone who went to TV ranch in those days would know who I am talking about. He asked all of us to kneel and pray, saying each word in order and they related to the three native American tribes that came together for a powwow. The Girls' season used Tagu, and the Boys' season used Tana, so I've heard both versions. Bill would have half of the camp up all night praying on the log cabin porches (praying that they would get the message), and the other half of the camp rolling on the floor laughing. I will never forget this (I was lucky enough to have been let in on the secret and so not too embarassed by this).
Shawn, daughter of Dave Lapidary