Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Jul 6 13:45:43 UTC 2009

The term too -- IIRC, "cootie catcher" was the name in the West Bronx also.


At 7/5/2009 09:28 AM, Bill Palmer wrote:
>Joel describes what we in elementary school in east Texas called a "cootie
>catcher". Sounds like the concept is widespread, if not the term.
>Bill Palmer
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>Sent: Sunday, July 05, 2009 9:03 AM
>Subject: Re: cooties
>>---------------------- Information from the mail
>>header -----------------------
>>Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>>Subject:      Re: cooties
>>At 7/4/2009 10:08 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>>>Seems like most dictionaries, at least the online ones, do gloss it
>>>as 'body louse'.  When I was growing up, cooties were always in the
>>>plural, they were invisible, and they were things one accused another
>>>of having or giving.  I think I assumed they were distinct from lice,
>>>which were real, and from other actual critters.  Hard to recall,
>>In my elementary school (or was it junior high school) days, there
>>was a prank.  One (that is, others) constructed a square piece of
>>paper so that the face had four triangular flaps (imagine an X
>>inscribed in a square).  These flaps were operated from the reverse
>>side by four fingers such that a pair of flaps on opposite sides
>>could be opened simultaneously, displaying the surface of paper
>>beneath them.  The surface of the paper below one pair of flaps was
>>left blank; on the other pair of surfaces were drawn small, repulsive
>>mites.  The Other said to one, "I need to check for cooties",
>>displayed the two unmarked surfaces, put the device against one's
>>head with a grasping motion, took it off, and displayed the other two
>> From that moment forth (or perhaps even earlier), I always
>>associated cooties with the head.  (Although ringworm was the
>>condition for which schoolchildren were sent home in my day.)
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