Friday, May 10, 2013
The other day, a FB friend announced to the world that she was going to go hop in the shower. I tried to picture that ... no, control your dirty thoughts: It was the hopping I was trying to picture. When you say you're going to hop in the shower, does that mean you're going to stand in the bathroom, bend your knees, and hop into the shower stall? (Could be a challenge if you have a combination tub-and-shower!) Or does it mean that once you get in the shower, you're going to hop around for a while? Just wondering what that would accomplish. It actually sounds pretty dangerous.
But hopping on the freeway sounds even more risky. I'm not sure what that means, either. Just hop on the freeway. Do I get out of my car? Hop along the road until a semi ends my hopping? Why would I want to do that? Are you mad at me or something?
Just hop to it. When people tell you that, I don't think they really want you to start hopping around? Do they? I mean, they could. I haven't tried it, though. It never seemed, you know, the right time to do some hopping--though I'm not even sure when that is.
And then there's hop into bed with ... Not sure I want to go there (in any sense). But I'm trying to picture an adulterous couple, disrobed, hopping around the room before they hop into bed. Things flopping. (I know, I know ... naughty, naughty.)
The only socially sanctioned hopping I can remember is at junior high and high school dances in the 1950s and early 1960s. "The Bunny Hop." Did you ever do it? We used to form huge lines in the old Hiram High School gym (RIP)--guys, girls, teachers. In my senior yearbook, there's even a picture of one of our teachers, Mr. Forrest ("Woody") Miller, leading a Bunny Hop--but the picture's pretty cut off: You see just him and the hands of the next person. But can you tell? He's got kind of a goofy look on his face. He's having a good time. Bunny-Hopping was fun. Never seen the Bunny Hop? Here's a Link.
Of course, there was that Gene Autry song "Here Comes Peter Cottontail": Link. Remember the lines about "hopping down the Bunny Trail"? Oh yes! "Hippity-hop-hop, Easter's on its way!"
One of my boyhood heroes was Hopalong Cassidy, played by William Boyd in quite a few movies Cassidy Website And you can see him ride on YouTube: Hoppy Rides!
But the filmmakers, fearing (knowing?) that a limping cowboy hero would not do well with movie audiences of the day, removed the limp after the first film.
The OED traces hop as a verb back more than 1000 years. Spenser and Shakespeare used it. In A Midsummer Night's Dream Titania is instructing her followers how to treat her new love--the ass-headed Bottom:
Be kind and courteous to this gentleman;
Hop in his walks and gambol in his eyes;
Feed him with apricocks and dewberries,
With purple grapes, green figs, and mulberries ...
The OED also lists some funny phrases with hop, among them hop-ball (a game with a ball), hop-crease (hopscotch), hop-frog (leap-frog--and don't forget that grim Poe story "Hop-Frog"!), hop-my-fool (a gambling game). Hop bail is to jump bail; hop the twig is to depart suddenly (never heard of that one!).
And, finally, The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang reminds us that hop can mean a bellhop, a carhop. And ... opium! (Think: hophead. And hopped up.) Hop can also mean attack, as in hop someone's ass. Here's another new one on me: hopper-arsed (having large buttocks--picture someone hopper-arsed hopping in the shower). I remember some basketball slang, too--He has serious hops = he can jump high. Hopped up can also refer to a fast car as well as someone who's high.