Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tasting the Kool-Aid

I've heard that expression so much lately. I heard it for the very first time in Corpus about three years ago - Crazy Jimmy used to say it, but I didn't understand the reference; and from the context I assumed it meant to wise up to the way things really are - to have one's eyes opened, as it were. I assumed the reference was to the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, so "tasting the Kool-Aid" would mean becoming enlightened. Right?

Right, apparently; but the meaning has shifted. I didn't hear the expression again for a couple of years, and now suddenly it's everywhere. Now it mostly seems to mean becoming indoctrinated, specifically into something bad or dangerous. This has taken some getting used to. I'm pleased to note that my original assumption was correct, though.

Anyway, I heard it Friday from a manager in my division who had not gone to conference this year. I was waiting outside for my ride home, and he stopped by and asked me how it had gone. "It was awesome, everything went great!" I beamed (okay, look, I had to be "on" all damn week, and hadn't quite managed to shut off the bubble machine yet), and he gave a knowing little laugh, and said, "Oh, tasted the Kool-Aid, have you?"

I should certainly say not. Unless he meant it the other way.

Here's another interesting idiomatic note: in Beaumont, our CVB contacts, I noticed, used "whenever" in place of the word "when" in the past tense. Like so:

"Whenever I was a kid we used to go on picnics here all the time."

And I thought that was really interesting because my very dear friend and office-mate in Corpus, Denisey, used to do the same thing. Maybe a Gulf Coast regional variation? I don't remember ever hearing that anywhere else. I can't remember anyone in Corpus besides Denise saying that; but then, she was really the only lifelong, native Corpuscle I ever spent much time with.

I didn't drink any Kool-Aid in Beaumont. It doesn't have caffeine.

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At April 28, 2008 8:27 AM, Anonymous Rdub said...

Welcome back to civilization and more importantly ... The land of good coffee!

Glad it all went well :-) Take any pictures whenever you were there??


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