Ah, the memory of Brandon David Adams. It is highly unlikely that he will read this and, if he does, it will be a miracle and a half if he writes to me concerning it (although if anyone wishes to tell him about this, be my guest -- I would love to be proven wrong here). Brandon is one of my favorite people in the world: the guy who lived across the hall from me freshman year of college who we first heard about as "the guy who tap dances." At first, this unnerved my roommate and I, who were both thoroughly entranced by the likes of alternative music (although he tended toward the Pixies and Diamanda Galas and I tended toward Depeche Mode and Erasure, meaning that we met in the middle at the Sisters of Mercy). And yet Brandon and we became very good friends, not in the least because the three of us were in glee club together and we were all in awe of Julie Kulchuk (née Full Fare), who came down to us lowly folks in the River Cluster to talk about what college freshmen do until we all fell asleep. Brandon was known among us for many things, including spontaneous tapping (which I still occasionally do) and inventing patently ridiculous sing-songs, such as the immortal "Juuuuu-lie/Julie, Julie Full Fare/She likes to watch you eat -- yay!"
Note the "yay!" Indeed, this is a constant Brandonism, a word forever associated with him. Oftentimes, it precedes a distrubingly horrific concept so as to disarm it completely and make it seem light-hearted and carefree. For example: "Yay! Nuclear war!"; "Yay! We're going to be disemboweled by heathens!" and the ever-popular standard: "Yay! Death!" I was attached to post-teenage morbidity by way of Depeche Mode; Brandon with an exclamation. (Aside: Brandon's other refrain, also repeated by the aforementioned Ms. Full Fare, was -- spoken in a happy, sing-songy voice -- "Sadness! Sorrow! Doom! Despair!" The exclamation points here are not merely written punctuation either.)
Here's the issue: I find myself saying "Yay!!" a lot these days.
Granted, this is because I'm Xan's primary caretaker for now. And he's learned how to smile, which sends him (and me) into sensory overload with joy. He's also almost carrying on conversations with me via some mutlisyllabic cooing, which is also adorable. And so, when something funny happens, or he's done something cool, or he's just looking awfully cute, I've tened to respond with a heartfelt "Yay!!" Ever the linguist, Ange says that while Brandon uses the construction "Yay, object," I have tended to use "Object, yay." (In case you didn't know this, my wife did an analysis of the grammatical inconsistencies in Yoda-speak in graduate school.)
At least I haven't devolved into the baby-talk gobbledy-gook that I find somewhat idiotic. Nonetheless, I'm wondering how my actions this summer are going to haunt my everyday life, particularly when I go back to teach in the fall.
"So, class, how might we approach the rampant sexuality in Cuarón's Y tu mamá también?"
"Well, the raw use of the hand-held camera might expose the empty significance of the sexuality."
"Empty signifiance -- yay!! You did soooooo well, Emily! Yes, you did! You did really well!"
"But Professor Middents, I was going to say that! Why didn't you pick me?"
"Oooooh, Todd, I know you have a crush on Emily. I know you feel bad. Iiiiit's OK. Here, let me put you on my shoulder and pat your back so that I can get some of that gas out of you. Theeeere we go."
"Wait a minute, this is really kinda wei- urp!"
"Are you still talking? Here, try this pacifier. Thaaaaat's a gooooood boooooy, yes you are. Professor Middents is going to teach now, OK Todd? Good."
I'm telling you -- I think a clause concerning the use of pacifiers is going into the next set of syllabi, right next to the part where I inform them how I will break their cell phones if they go off during class. Pacifiers, yay!