Thursday, April 23, 2009

Are you Joey?

Joey (adj.):

1. behaving in a manner slightly more serious than the situation calls for.
2. to be overly earnest, interested, and/or involved in a subject, lifestyle, or endeavor.
3. displaying sincere and often comical reverence towards a particular subject.
4. the event that a song, phrase, movie, or any other object can exhibit a state of being more serious or reverent than is probably necessary.

First conceptualized under a different name in the late 1970’s by the Willard Family of Tucson, Arizona, and revived in the mid-1980’s, “joey” has enjoyed a phenomenal rise in usage over the last two decades. Frequent and appropriate use of the term was practiced by 4 people during the first years of the ’80’s. Now, roughly 20 years later, the term is used correctly by at least 100 people, and incorrectly by as many as 17.

“Joey” came to being while the Willards spent their pre-teen years in Boy Scouts. Ever a breeding ground for Joey activity and Joey traditions, Scouting provided for the Willard boys a few clear models of what Joey is about. Unbeknownst to many of the other Scouts involved, we often referred to those who knew all the rites and customs of Scouting as “Joe Scouts”. This included the attainment of many merit badges, wearing the merit badge sash at Scout meetings, and knowing every rope knot that is needed in a pinch. A Joe Scout would often show up at the most informal of gatherings dressed in the proper Scouting garb.
From this experience stemmed many other uses of the term Joey, or the prefix Joe. One could be Joey in just about any form of hobby or endeavor. There are Joe Accountants, Joe Statisticians,and even Joe Skateboarders. Provided one’s behavior matches the criteria specified in the above definition, they could be accurately accused of Joey at just about any time. This is not to say that Joey is necessarily an undesirable state, although the accusation is most often meant as such.

From Los Angeles to New York to as far away as Mexico and Mozambique, “joey” is establishing itself as an indespensable term for either mockery or empirical identification. It is the hope of the creators that this term will soon enter into the universal lexicon with its intended definition and usage.

At a very early age, my friend Brett (shown left) was about as joey as you can be.

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