Monday, November 5, 2007

Olly olly olsen free!

One of the fun things about my job is that sometimes we get to go out and do stuff. A few weeks ago I got to go to a merchant marine academy and spend the day in their "ocean simulator." It's a giant pool, about 30 feet deep, that can simulate storms by creating 10-foot swells, rainfall, wind, and darkness. We learn how not to drown, if we're ever in a potential drowning situation.

Tomorrow I get to go out into the woods and play hide-and-seek. Of course, it's the first week of November and likely to be rather cold, but I get to spend the day running through the forest (more like slinking through the forest) while a gang of highly-trained assassins (hehe) tries to catch me.
What did YOU shout, as a kid, when you were sick of "seeking" and wanted all of the hiders to come in? It's not like it's written in a book somewhere; you just pick it up from the other kids. You know that game, where you whisper to a friend, who passes it on, and so on, until the message is completely changed? That's what happened to our hide-and-seek call over the generations. I mean, it's patently nonsense, but to me it means "stop hiding, you win, come on in." It obviously had some meaning once. "All ye, all ye out's in free?" Maybe. Weird. And I call myself a linguist. Pfeh.


Susie H said...

We used to say "olly olly ox in free" - we WERE only one state away from you, though...wonder what they say in the south?

Anonymous said...

I grew up in California but had cousins in the south. My cousins said "Olly olly oxen free" or "Olly olly ox in free" My friends in California said, "I'm coming out! Game over! I win"

For the record, none of my cousins married one another and I didn't marry any of them. ;-)