Tuesday, August 2, 2011


… blame it on the school for having lunch periods that were as long as the other periods throughout the day.

In high school our band director kept the band room open so that we could "practice" during our lunch periods after we ate (right, like we were actually going to practice). What wound up happening is that two of us made up a game we called Nay-Gun-ye.

If any of you are familiar with horned instruments such as a trumpet, you might know that you can change the sound by covering the end of the horn. This is called Muting— and there are several different kinds of mutes. One mute in particular is simply the rubber part of a plunger… but we didn't use the plunger head to mute our instruments, but something else entirely.

What we used to do was line up at the two ends of the instrument storage room and throw the plunger head and try and make the plunger head stick to the floor. At the time, there was a lot of political turmoil in such places as Lebanon and Libya, so we made the game more interesting by pretending the plunger was a bomb and we were indicating what was being targeted. Just before we threw the plunger, the thrower would make an announcement like "Lebanon", then throw the plunger. Depending on what the plunger did would determine what the person at the other end of the room would say. If the plunger landed on the floor and stuck, you would say "Gone"— and if it didn't you would say "Not Gone Yet".

Perhaps it was laziness, or because we were mentioning foreign countries and foreign leaders that "Not Gone Yet" got blurred into "Nah-Gun-ye" with a heavy foreign accent. Even gone got accented into "Gan".

Many times, my friend and I would talk about a foreign leader with the phrases used from the game. For example, at the time Mummar Gaddafi had several assassination attempts that were in the news. We would say to each other "Gadafi…Na-Gun-ye" to indicate that he wasn't successfully assassinated. What I find interesting is the fact that this statement that we were saying to each other over 25 years ago, still holds true today.

With events like 9-11 and all of the shows about terrorism that followed, I was watching one of the shows and thought to myself "Bin Ladin…Na-Gun-ye". I immediately thought of my high school friend, but never bothered to let him know this. After the Bin Ladin was killed I couldn't help myself by saying "Bin Ladin…Gan".

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