what’s that you say?

you know how there are always those words or phrases you misunderstood? or misused? well, for years i didn’t quite get this exchange:
“see you later.”
“not if i see you first!”
being the methodical, concrete little thinker that i was (and perhaps a bit of the naive, sweet, innocent, rural kid that i was too), the only thing i saw up for discussion was the order in which the two people saw each other. this made the response make no sense at all, because if the second person saw the other first, they would in fact be causing the truth of the first comment (which is the first person would see them later in time). this could not be! i thought the second person was trying to be clever, yet being completely incorrect. i could not for the life of me understand why such a nonsensical rejoinder was being perpetuated by society at large. i think i even began to try and correct people, telling them the rejoinder should be “not if you see me first!” (along with the requisite explanation of the order in which the two people saw each other.)
i don’t recall exactly when i learned the response meant “if i see you before you see me, i’ll hide so you don’t see me.” but i think it was in junior high, or maybe high school, probably after offering my suggested change and having someone say “that makes no sense. are you a moron or something?”
here’s another one. for years, i thought the phrase shouted at people to get them up and motivated for action was “up and adam!”
i had no idea what kind of mystical origin such an obtuse phrase must have had. the best i could come up with was that it must have something to do with adam from the bible, since he was the first human, and somehow the phrase related to being full of energy and zeal because of being newly created or something. i opted for some unknown meaning that must have been lost through the annals of time, because obviously my best guess was pretty lame.
i do, in fact, still remember the time when this misunderstanding was ended: i read the phrase in a beetle bailey cartoon. “up and at ’em!” the seargant yelled in big, bold, black letters right there on the sunday comics page. and suddenly it all made sense.
and just to drag my brother into this, i remember he used to say “adoption” instead of “adaption”. as in, “did you hear they were going to do this awesome punisher movie adoption with dolf lundgren? i hope they get duran duran and billy idol to do the soundtrack!” he used to get totally pissed at me when i would correct him and tell him the word was “adaption”. then he’d restate it incorrectly in front of me just to piss me off.
hopefully revealing this about him won’t still bring down his ire upon me, since i’m supposed to be seeing him this weekend. and if it does, perhaps the fact that i come bearing a gift will help quell his furor. maybe i should try to find some tiger beat pics of duran duran for him too, just in case.

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