Appearing To Be Smart, Part 2


May 12, 2011 by rebelwithalabelmaker

So, this morning we had one of our super rushes to make it to church.  We wound up waking up late, throwing on clothes from the day before, and arriving in the nick of time.  I sat down in the pew, and I'm thinking "Did I brush my hair?"  (This may seem a vain thing to obsess about to you, but you need to understand that left to its own devices my hair is scary.  Nobody would be able to concentrate on the church service–they would all be thinking quotes from Revelations.Without forceful brushing, it looks like a big magenta Octopus on high attack.  My hair, not Revelations).

Octopi, by the way, are apparently brilliant creatures–as invertebrates go.  They play, they learn directions, and under encouragement from scientists they are even known to use tools.  I play, I learn directions only under duress, and nobody has ever encouraged me to use tools.

So, Carl leans back during the meditationey part and whispers "seh-tsay".

Me (Still worrying about my appearance, trying to pat down Octopus head):  What?

Carl:  Say-tsay.

Me (Thinking, did he say "scary" with an accent?):  What?

Carl:  Say-tsee.

Me (Thinking, did he say "sexy" with an accent?): What?

Carl:  Say-tsay.

Me (Maybe it's not about me.  Do we have a new religious ritual I don't know about?): What?

Carl (Realizing I'm not going to get this):  Say-Tse.  Tee ess ee, tee ess ee.

Me:  Ohhhh!  See tsee.  As in tse tse fly.

Carl:  See tsee?  I don't think that's how it's pronounced.

Me (Turning to my other neighbour):  Is it pronounced See-Tsee fly or Say-Tsay fly?

Neighbour:  I usually pronounce it Say-Tsay.

What's interesting about the whole reaction is that the neighbour didn't bat an eyelid–not only did he know how to pronounce the name of the fly, he didn't seem at all curious as to why I needed to know at that exact moment.

Carl was subtly complaining, because last blog post, I said I would talk about the tse tse fly, and then I spent the whole post talking about motherhood–which is apparently not nearly so special and timeless as the tse tse fly.

I would talk about the tse tse fly to appease Carl, but the trouble is I know nothing about it.  The only time I have ever heard of that species is when my sister brought home her new boyfriend in high school (no, he is not a Tse Tse fly).  The next day, she asked him what she thought of my dad and the boyfriend said "boy, he sure knows a lot about the mating habit of the south american tse tse fly."  I thought this was hilarious, and now I use tse tse fly as my random archaic thing that nobody knows about.  Except, it turns out, everybody knows about it.  "I usually pronounce…" my neighbour said.  Exactly how much time to people spend talking about the Tse Tse Fly?

My dad loves to learn, and loves to share what he's learned.  He's not trying to prove how smart he is–he really things that people go to dinner parties bursting with curiosity about the social habits of octopi.  My mom, however, tends to interpret his liberal sharing of information as 1) not always helpful at the moment he chooses to share the information (guess when I learned all about skunks?) and 2) intended to show he is smarter than her.  He does often tend to correct people–not out of a sense of superiority, but out of great dedication to The Facts Of The Universe Being Correct.

When he does this, she often retorts with "Quit being such a Knowledgeable Guru!".  Problem is, she usually pronounces it "Garoo"–and since he's getting heck in that moment, he can't really correct her mis-pronounciation.  I love to tell this story.  I love even more to tell it with my son around, because he is never able to resist saying "No, she says 'quit being such a Knowledgeable G'ru.' ", which, I must point out is correcting me because I didn't mis-pronounce correctly.  

Anyways, this is my long-winded way of saying there will be nothing on the Tse Tse fly–sorry.  I thought maybe you'd like this funny story from church, which I have tried to tell in casual conversation four times.  And every single time, nobody heard my funny story because they got side tracked debating the correct pronouncing of Tse Tse fly.  Many, this must be one special super-powered creature–I am going to go look it up.  If it doesn't shoot magma out of it's tentacles and shape shift, I am going to be disappointed…



2 thoughts on “Appearing To Be Smart, Part 2

  1. Erica says:

    Did you find out how to pronounce it? I say it like it looks tsee – tsee like the sound a t makes then see. Maybe I should keep reading and I’ll find out.

  2. Liz says:

    Tsee Tsee… I asked Salaash, and I figure since it’s his native tongue…
    …Ann C figures perhaps there are different dialects that say it differently… hands down this issue has proven the most riveting of anything I’ve ever written about…

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