Monday, November 17, 2008

The day I found out I'm really a honky. And a cracker.

Last Friday we had an innovation event at my work. It was structured like Jeopardy and one of the categories refereed to a small part of an innovation survey we were asked to take a week or so prior. One of the questions asked us to give one word that describes a creative person. I put wonky because what better describes a creative person in one word?

During the event, when the question was posed about the one word a majority of people used to describe creative, I said I put down wonky.

Someone heard me and asked me to say it again.

"Wonky," I told her.

Later on, as I was leaving, I ran into her in the hallway.

"Have a good weekend, Wonky," she told me.

"What did you just call me??" I asked her. I swear I heard her call me a honky. I mean come one, wonky and honky really do sound the same, especially when one ear is plugged up with an ear bud.

"Wonky?" she said, like what's your problem?

I started laughing. "I thought you called me a honky!" I said.

"No...," she headed to the bathroom, leaving me to be very amused by myself in the hallway. "I called you WONKY."

I've been dying to share this with my co-worker because she would appreciate this sort of thing for many reasons. Today I told her via IM, and she found it funny, as I suspected, but then the whole term honky got me thinking. What does that mean?

Wikipedia, there I went:

Racial and ethnic tension between the two groups led Black workers to begin calling Hungarian workers, and those perceived as Hungarian workers, hunky, perhaps in retaliation for the familiar racist epithets to which black workers were subject. The corruption 'honky' emerged shortly thereafter.

So guess what I'm part? I'm part Hungarian. Which means, I am a honky. And then that got me thinking, what does cracker really mean?

Wikipedia, there I went again:

The term "cracker" was in use during Elizabethan times to describe braggarts. The original root of this is the Middle English word crack meaning "entertaining conversation" (one may be said to "crack" a joke); this term and the alternate spelling "craic" are still in use in Ireland and Scotland. It is documented in Shakespeare's King John (1595): "What cracker is this same that deafs our ears with this abundance of superfluous breath?"

By the 1760s, this term was in use by the English in the British North American colonies to refer to Scots-Irish settlers in the south.
Yup, you guessed it, I'm also part Scottish. And I also have been known to brag. And I do find myself quite funny. So I guess that makes me a cracker as well.

I let my husband know my true roots, which he thought was funny, and then requested that I send him the cracker post from wikipedia to share with one of his co-workers who likes to call my husband a cracker even though he's the farthest thing from one, although he likens himself to being Irish on occasion.

1 comment:

Kmommy said...

Hilarious! Never knew the origins of those words, but have wondered. I love looking up and finding out word origins like that :)
Ooh, I'm also a cracker ;)