Minor Street Mishap

After writing the previous post I got up from my chair and looked out at Dulany Street through the kitchen screen door.  Rain had been falling earlier and I was glad to see that it had quit, as I was wanting to get out and walk before the heat sets in.

I glimpsed a nine-year-old girl riding by.  She lives just up the street with her grandma and younger brother.  I’ve talked with her several times when I’ve been sitting on the front steps and she has ridden her bike down the sidewalk.

I was about to return to the computer when I heard a commotion out in the street and a child crying.  I was barefoot, but I walked down the steps to the street to see what had happened.

The girl’s little brother had been riding a scooter alongside her bike.  The boy had fallen over and scraped his knees.  His sister had laid her bike over and was trying to comfort him.   She picked him up and said “Let’s get you back to grandma’s, okay?”

The boy wailed “Nobody cares about me!”

As she walked back up the sidewalk the girl responded in soothing tones “Now you know I care about you — you’re my little brother, after all!”

While the two of them were gone I righted the bicycle and moved it and the scooter out of the street and up onto the sidewalk.

The girl returned without her brother.  I said “Want me to carry the scooter back so you can ride your bike?”

“Sure, that’d be great!”

As we proceeded up the sidewalk the girl said “My brother is such a little drama queen!  He’s acting like he can’t walk now, and he hardly got scraped up at all!”

“Ah, he’s just wantin’ some sympathy.”

We got to their house and I leaned the scooter up against the porch.  While the girl was thanking me her grandma peered out suspiciously from a lace-curtained window.

I probably wouldn’t have even bothered to write about this minor incident but for the girl’s use of the phrase “drama queen”.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard a nine-year-old use the phrase before.  Now to do some research — when was that phrase first used?  I don’t think it’s all that old.

Addendum:  this quote from one of those “answer sites” seems to express the consensus about the term’s origins:

It’s my understanding that the word drama queen first started out as a reference to a gay person in drag (Drag Queen) getting angry. The word came into the general language when it was accepted by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as a “new word” in 1996.

Larry

6 comments on “Minor Street Mishap

  1. Dave Bonta says:

    Do phrases really come into general usage because a dictionary picks them up? I think the usage generally well precedes the listing.

  2. Dave Bonta says:

    The Online Etymology Dictionary saysDrama queen attested by 1992.”

  3. penstemon says:

    Lists of new words along with their definitions have been “filler” items for newspapers during the past few decades. The items are like press releases for new editions of dictionaries. I remember seeing words for the first time in those lists years ago.

    The usage does precede the listing but also causes it.

  4. karen says:

    The compelling part of your story to me was the way you offered your assistance and heart and the way the sister offered the same to her brother. Caring and kindness–that is worth writing about. 🙂

  5. Joan says:

    I agree with Karen. This is a touching story.

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