Date: Wed, 29 Nov 1995 08:16:58 -0500


Subject: Re: toboggan

Jim Stalker is right on about the 'tobaggon' business in KY (at least

Louisville area). I'm not sure if my use was idiosyncratic, but for me

(growing up in the same place at roughly the same time), a 'tobaggon'

additionally required an elongated top, with, perhaps, the prototypical

form having a fuzzy ball on the end. I had no term for 'knit cap' till I

was blown north in the 60's.

Perhaps we had names for only the cartoonish forms of this outerwear down

in Louisville since, unlike here in East Lansing, we didn't need the damn

things so often

Dennis 'Cold-ears' Preston


I call the thing a tobaggon whether it is elongated or not. I learned the

word from my mother when I was wee thing in Texas. People have corrected

me and told me that a tobaggon is a sled. The thing on my head is supposed

to be called a knit cap. My central Georgia wife did not even know what I

was talking about when I said that I was going to wear my tobaggon. She

won't let me wear the one I got from Lake Titicaca because, she says, I

look like a fool in it. A child in the Wal-Mart Parking lot called me

Santa Claus once when I had it on.

Speaking of Santa Claus, I heard three black males about the age of Beavis

and Butthead on Saturday in the Macon Mall pun their way past three white

females of a similar age and class, saying "HO, HO, HO" in a loud voice

(i.e., "whore, whore, whore"). However, black college students told me

last week that "ho" (i.e., "whore") now refers to a promiscuous male; a

promiscuous female is called a "freak." The etymological explanation

offered to me posited that the new meaning for "freak" comes from Atlanta's

"Freaknik" since this party offers numerous opportunities for one-time

anonymous sex ("which is the best way to have it," the student said).

Wayne Glowka

Professor of English

Director of Research and Graduate Student Services

Georgia College

Milledgeville, GA 31061