Saturday, November 01, 2008

Carp Dime

For awhile now, there have been several people suggesting that I change the title of my blog. For three years it has been titled "The Single Guy." Simply put, I titled it that because as my friends were getting engaged and married, I remained single. So, in starting this blog, I went into it with a single guy's mentality. Originally I had planned to comment on life as a twenty-something single man in the early 21st century.

But if you've been reading my blog in the last year, you'll notice that there's not a lot of mention of the trials and tribulations of the single guy. I don't date, so I can't do a lot of writing about those particular pitfalls. I don't really emote too often, so love doesn't really enter the equation either. So what have I been writing about? Day-to-day life.

This brings me to the new title for the blog. "Carp Dime." Don't worry, I'll explain.

Back when I was keeping a blog on MySpace, I did explain the origins of the phrase "carp dime." But I have yet to tell that tale here. It all begins in Bluefield, Virginia, where three young college students had a craving for Chinese buffet. Mark, Andy and myself piled into my little green Escort, we'll call her Jade, and headed to the Mercer Mall. On the road, we noticed our friend Cassie in her car behind us. We met up in the mall parking lot and invited Cassie to join us for some sweet and sour chicken, but she was jonesing for some Chick-Fil-A. So we just told her to sneak her food into the restaurant and hang out with us anyway.

We took a booth in the Chinese restaurant and were greeted by a strange sight. This is something that I had never experienced, and have never again witnessed, in a Chinese restaurant. Our waitress was a crazy, old white woman. Her hair was an odd mass that looked like it could have housed any number of rodents. She had a long scar that stretched from her left ear down her neck, then disappeared behind her shirt. She had one of those creepy cackles that you imagine old cat ladies having. The only thing that would make this image complete for me is if she lived in one of those houses that kids cross the street to avoid. The kind of house with a front door that the bad kids dare the good kids to run up and knock on. Happily, I have no idea where this woman lived.

Our little group here had recently returned from a Baptist Student Union retreat at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg. While there, Mark had interacted with a cute girl from JMU. Naturally, our dinner conversation drifted toward Mark's thoughts on this young lady, and what he planned to do. For awhile, he considered driving up to see her during an upcoming break. Being the supportive friends that we were, we tried to encourage him to do so.

Our crazy, old cat lady overheard our conversation and decided to throw in her two cents. Eventually she turned her attention solely to Mark, while the rest of us continued on our own. Mark is the kind of guy that's too nice to stop someone when they're rambling, so she kept on for some time. When she wrapped things up, she said something that caught everyone's attention. "Carp dime!"

At this point we were all confused. We decided that she was attempting to say carpe diem, but carp dime was what came out. That crazy, old cat lady had just given us a catchphrase that would stay with us through college and beyond. Those two words hold no meaning to anyone who didn't finish their days at Bluefield College, but to people like me, they mean so much.

If she, in fact, meant to say carpe diem, then it means to seize the day. But it could very well mean 10-cent fish. Perhaps she was trying to sell a special on the menu at the Chinese buffet.

Whatever its meaning, it is now the title for this blog. The blog isn't about some guy that just happens to check single on his W-2. It's about what that guy observes as he's out there attempting to seize the fish.


  1. Man, I love this story.

    I hope that one day I will make it into a story on your blog.

    Hope you're doing well!


  2. Wow! I was totally still reading Carp as Carpe until the end because I was so focused on the dime. And I really thought this post was going to be about seizing ten cents.
    Carp is even funnier.
    Hooked on Phonics?

    It reminds me of this time that we were having a yard sale, and my sister and I were selling a lot of our old books, and this lady got all excited and said, "Oh look! The Scarlet Pimpernickel."

  3. Ok in response to "Happily I have no idea where this woman lived".......4 Kim Ann Place.....thats my cousin! I love reading your blog.

  4. Haha that's great! I inferred what the title of the blog was alluding to, but I was wondering why it was called that - so I was glad to see this post linked to on the side. Names are tricky - yours has character, I like it.

    (Came here from Jeff Noble's blog by the way; I'm trying to start blogging and was looking for some to follow. If you keep at it, I'll be reading!)

    1. Glad you like it! If I ever decide to get another personalized license plate, I'm hoping "CARPDIME" isn't taken.