6° of Aberration

Looking for my alter ego...I'm sure I left it someplace around here...

Name:
Location: California, United States

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Who the hell is Joe Blow from Kokomo, anyway?

[From the Pointless Internet Search Files, Case #25615]

When we were kids, if the kitchen door happened to swing open on its own, Mom always said it was "Joe Blow from Kokomo."

[When we left our closet door open, on the other hand, Dad chastised us for "letting a draft in," which I misheard as "letting a giraffe in," and the fear of some eighteen-foot ungulate extricating itself from my closet while I slept was nightmare-inducing.]

I recently caught myself tempted to pass the "Joe Blow from Kokomo" reference along to my boys when I wondered, for once, just who was Joe Blow anyway and how had Mom heard of him? I suppose I could just ask Mom, but with the worldwide web ever at my fingertips, I thought I'd do some quick and pointless research.

After many frustrating misses I discovered, thanks to a William Safire article, that terms for the average person have evolved over time, often as John (notably "John Doe," "John Hancock," and "John Q. Public"), but also as Joe:

The average Joe appeared as Joe Blow (1867), Joe Doakes (1926), Joe College (1932), GI Joe (1943) and, in Britain, Joe Bloggs (1969). Though Joe Zilch (1925, probably a play on zero) and Joe Schmo (1950, rhyming with hometown Kokomo) are derisive, Joe Cool (1949) gets respect.
Joe Everyman continues to evolve, now making more frequent appearances as "Joe Six-Pack."

But in our house, in the interest of preserving meaningless and inscrutable mystery, I now attribute self-opening doors to Joe Blow from Kokomo, a memetic nod to my mother, and a taunting bit of trivia for my grandchildren should the name successfully propagate to yet another generation.

60 Comments:

Blogger Kitty Love-Cobain said...

It's something from a Stephen King novel called Misery, that exact quoted name of Joe Blow from Kokomo...swing by my blog sometime?

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