Play Hooky

I received an email advertisement today from a restaurant I go to called “Smokey Bones”. They specialize in BBQ ribs and BBQ chicken. Do you know what ribs are? You should. You have 24 of them inside your body. Most mammals, like cows and pigs, have ribs.

Let’s be sure we know what ribs are before we proceed. Ribs are bones that protect your internal organs (lungs, heart, liver, etc.).

Ribs have meat on them and between them. People love to eat cow ribs, which we call spare ribs for some reason. To enhance the taste, people typically put a red sauce on them. We call this barbecue sauce or BBQ sauce for short. So we can call these BBQ spare ribs. Mmm mmm!

When we cut between the bones, we get meat slices like this:

Another type of BBQ meat is BBQ chicken wings. You probably know what chicken wings are.

Now that we know what BBQ spare ribs and chicken wings are, let’s continue with my enlightening discussion.

Here is the advertisement I received in my email. It has some slang (to ditch work, to play hooky, to give someone the slip), some metaphors (doctor’s orders, doctor’s excuse), some puns, and some American sense of humor.

To ditch means to leave in a hurry and it has a bad connotation, as if you leave when you should not. To ditch work is to leave work earlier than you are supposed to. Let’s ditch this place; it’s boring. Let’s ditch this guy; he’s crazy.

To skip work is even worse than to ditch work. To skip work means you don’t even go to work at all. That way, you don’t have to ditch work because you never went to work. Skipping work can get you in trouble, of course. So can ditching work.

To play hooky is to pretend you have a reason to skip something. You can play hooky from work or play hooky from school. If you just play hooky, we assume you mean from school.

To give someone the slip means to get away or escape from someone; to avoid meeting someone by trickery. For example, the dog gave the dog catcher the slip by going under the house. Did you catch him? No, he gave me the slip. (He slipped away.)

Basketball is a game where you try to throw a ball through a basketball hoop. So, hoops is slang for basketball and playing hoops is slang for playing basketball. Looking at the basketball player above, to his right is a message that there is a “Big College Hoops Tourney” on March 20 and 21. Tourney is slang for tournament.

Notice the basketball player’s name: Skip Hooky. This is a pun. His name has a double meaning. That is his “name” but it also describes what he will do on March 20 and 21. He will skip work. He will play hooky from work and go watch the basketball tournament at Smokey Bones Restaurant, which has large TVs everywhere for watching sports while he’s eating. What will he be eating, you ask? Why, ribs and wings, of course!

Now, to play hooky without getting in trouble, we need a fake reason. The advertisement helps you with that! It includes a fake doctor’s excuse (doctor’s note) from Dr. Bones. You give the doctor’s excuse to your boss on March 22 and tell your boss that your doctor, Dr. Bones, told you NOT to go to work for those two days. Perhaps you were sick and your doctor’s orders were to stay home to let your body rest and get well. So, our fake reason is doctor’s orders and we have a fake doctor’s excuse to give our boss as “proof”.

Now review the advertisement and see if all the new terms you have learned make sense to you now.

Leave a Reply