June 25, 2005

The ships, it shuts everything up

I first heard back-end abbreviations -- like "stache" for moustache and "rents" for parents -- about 30 years ago, and I thought this fad was more or less over, except maybe as a way of forming nicknames like "Zo" for Alonzo Mourning (who probably got his monicker 25 years ago, anyhow). For example, urbandictionary.com calls za "an old way of sayin pizza, its stupid noone says it so dont".

However, this method of word-formation is still hip in some circles.

Rasheed Wallace is not like most athletes. He refuses to give up his Voice, and this defiance is both admirable and infuriating.

'Sheed believes if there is a questionable call, he must protest; if there is an open teammate, he must pass the ball; if his sole goal is to help his team win, that should be the beginning, middle and end of his story. These are the tenets of his faith.

"Personally, it doesn't matter to me if I had the worst career stats in NBA history," he said Wednesday, "as long as I got my ships. The ships, it shuts everything up."

What did he say? Ships? Chips? Chits?

Ships, I was told - 'Sheedish for championships, and I have never felt whiter in my life. [Michael Rosenberg, Detroit Free Press, "Inside the curious case of Rasheed Wallace", 6/15/2005]

On the other hand, Rasheed Wallace seems to represent the traditional slang lexicon in other ways as well:

On the media: "I don't care what none of you cats think. Half of you are bandwagon, and the other half got the Spurs winning anyway, so it don't matter to us.''

I thought that cats was also obsolete slang, but apparently it's back on the streets -- with a difference. For the likes of Louis Armstrong, cats were the musical in-group, but it looks like these days, it's Dogs Out against "you cats".

Posted by Mark Liberman at June 25, 2005 01:00 PM