For those who’ve never met me in person, let me just clear something up in case you were wondering – I’m a White Guy. I’m about as Caucasian as you can get. I don’t even have an interesting, cool last name. It’s “Miller.” I don’t have one parent who was Black and another who was White. They were both White. There’s no interesting classification for me on forms when they ask me to check a box to indicate my ethnicity – no cool things like “Amer-Asian” or “Franco-American” or “Cocker-Spaniel-Euro” or anything like that. I’m just an uber-Caucasian White Guy. I have the sociological mannerisms, as well as the legs, to prove it. Sadly, so far I’ve not yet seen a box on forms labeled “Uber-Caucasian.”
With that background in mind, you can see why a site like The Urban Dictionary is extremely helpful to me. I want to be able to say cool, hip, street, urban things, but I want to a) get them right, b) say them in the right context, and c) try to avoid unknowingly saying anything dirty or, even worse, OUTDATED.
As an example of the kind of danger an uber-Caucasian like myself faces, there was a short period in my life where I had to lead a group of church high school kids for a few months, while the church I pastored was looking for some new youth leaders. These kids were all the kinds of kids who would have scared me if I was their age. They were the kinds of kids who asked me to visit their brothers in jail, and who needed me to sign their community service forms for their probation officers.
On one occasion in a gathering with them, I wanted to show I agreed with one of them. So I thought it would be cool to say “I’m down with that.” The problem was, I couldn’t remember if it was supposed to be “I’m down WITH that,” or “I’m down ON that.” One simple wrong preposition would make the difference between my being cool or not. Sure, the wise thing would have been to just say something fitting with my uber-Causasian nature, like, “Sure.” But never one to shy away from a challenge, I went for it. I made a choice. The wrong choice, as it turned out.
The kid said whatever he said. And I said, “Yeah, I’m down on that.” And they all laughed, and one of them said something like “Yeah, Charley’s using that language of the street!”
But now it’s good to have a resource like The Urban Dictionary. This simple online resource, combined with my ever-present Blackberry, could help me avoid similar embarrassing episodes in the future.
So in case I ever find myself in that same situation again, it’ll go something like this…
Kid: I think we should _______
Me: (click, click, click, wait……. click, wait……) Yeah, I’m down with that.
(Kid nods with obvious admiration)
Definitely a much cooler scenario.