Howdy Pop!

I had two hours with very little to do this morning because today I was a (insert dramatic music)  volunteer test proctor. My job was to ensure that standardized testing procedures were effectively carried out.  My slight smile was the only clue to my intense pleasure at being on the disseminating end of this test: you remember:  the fill-in-the-bubble, number 2 pencil, no-penalty-for-guessing test. 

There I sat watching the students; the only sound came from the clock’s ticking second hand which seemed to move increasingly slower as my borborygmy grew increasingly louder. (And yes, I did have to look up the spelling of borborygmy).

My mind drifted back to the morning before when I returned my signed packet of “proctor” instructions to the school office receptionist.  While exiting the office a young wisenheimer, probably a juvenile delinquent called in to see the principal, I later concluded, looked up at me and said “Howdy Pop.”  The overly innocent tone of this boy’s voice together with his choice of greetings set off a chain reaction in my brain which resulted in my conclusion that he was calling me over-the-hill.

So there I sat with nothing to do except to count the number of brand names on the students’ clothes. Then like a sudden itch that needs immediate attention, the unresolved mysterious “Pop” returned to my consciousness. Like a scientist analyzing all the causes of an experiment gone wrong, I pondered the term. I had no idea just how busy those three little letters would make me. I took out a piece of paper, and started scribbling.  The next sound I heard was the teacher’s voice, “Pencils down,” so I put my pencil down. Here’s what I wrote.

 Pop I realized was an important word, for pop is an example of all of the following:

Onomatopoeia for the sound made when a balloon pops.

Palindrome for pop is spelled the same backwards and forwards

Homonym for pop means to burst, and pop means dad

Colloquialism for pop means soda in certain geographic areas.

Acronym  for pop means  point of presence, an access point to the internet

Abbreviation for pop is short for popular

Jargon  for in baseball a hit which is easily caught is called a  pop fly

Noun for pop means Father

Verb  for pop means to ask as in pop the question

Adjective for pop describes some music

Adverb  for pop describes some verbs as in I’ll pop by

I just realized I figured out everything I ever wanted to know about the word pop . . . except maybe what that kid meant by “Howdy Pop.”  🙂

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About robertstevenson

Dr. Robert Stevenson is a Professor of Journalism and Director of Student Publications for the Department of Mass Communications and Theater at Lander University in Greenwood, SC. He received the Distinguished Faculty of the Year award for 2007-'08, and the Lander University Young Faculty Scholar Award in 2005-06. Stevenson also serves as chair of the Lander University American Democracy Project. First and Formost I am a dad of two wonderful boys.
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3 Responses to Howdy Pop!

  1. Paul says:

    I can’t begin to tell you how much fun that was to read. Nice!

  2. Thanks, Paul.

    That means a lot. I appreciate it. BTW loved the new vid post – cool camera angles.

  3. Doc KC says:

    I LOVED this article! I am indeed a psychotherapist, but I also tutor K-12 and college level students including those on the autistic spectrum. I tutor in English! This article taught me a LOT and will definitely help in teaching others. I love the “pop” idea! It’s brilliant!
    Doc KC

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