Happily, I wasn’t quite old enough to know the derivation of YBYSAIA as the appropriate if PGish answer to that question; it was passed along seventeenth hand when I was in Junior High. I was reminded of it years ago when I saw a bar called The Thursty Turtle just a few miles from our house. It was a relief to confirm that my ability to recollect completely useless bits of ephemera is intact. What I really like is that the question accompanying the name of the bar has a different meaning for those who get the reference, and I guess these folks could be called the “codgerscenti.” That just means that they’re part of a relatively small group that is old enough to remember something. Dig, if you will, the question:
George Gobel, of all people, had a minor hit with this ditty, and unless someone knows different, this is the derivation of the question and the answer.
I didn’t set out to expurgate this canonical bit of fluff when I used the formula to ask:
Are You a Songhead?
But it seemed to be appropriate that the first A should change to an E (for, of course, Ears).
Based on the state of the world NOW, I’m ready to start asking a different question:
ARE YOU AN EARTHLING?
Do me a favor and think for a minute about how different the planet would be if the only question that mattered, whether asked of a neighbor or a bug or a being on the far side, was that one. We might treat our fellow inhabitant better if, whether they’re able to verbalize it or not, we remind ourselves that the right answer is
You Bet Your Sweet Ass I Am