18 October 2009

...started makin' trouble in my neighborhood

last weekend we had a couchsurfer from belgium stay with us. he had a pretty extensive knowledge of the united states, which had been almost entirely formed by his experience watching american tv shows. he knew that east st. louis is a bad town because of a simpsons reference, he went to baltimore because of the wire, his trip planning was based on a philosphy espoused by george constanza, and his expectations of the chicago suburbs was framed by family matters.

so when he arrived by train in philadelphia and noticed that he was in a fairly rough part of town, he figured he must have disembarked in the western part of the city, because "in west philadelphia, born and raised/on the playground is where i spent most of my days..."

incidentally, this only serves to advance my long-held belief that knowledge of at least most of the words to that theme song is a universality among people of a certain age, regardless of where in the US you're from. when i was studying in spain i was delighted to find that my teachers knew the song--in spanish! (i recorded them performing it, and i still remember how it starts: "al oeste philadelphia, vivia y crecia/sin hacer mucho caso a la policia"). and so the legend grows--i think i'm ready to modify the theory to the entire western hemisphere. next i need to start asking people from south america if the words "the license plate said fresh and there was dice in the mirror" mean anything to them. i'll keep you updated...

4 comments:

Brian said...

Lieven had some good stories, glad it worked out for you guys to host him.

Matt said...

I live in (North)-West Philadelphia!

aaron wk said...

UNIMPRESSED by this post. UNIMPRESSED. :)

Anna said...

Now that I actually think about it, I don't think I know one person that wouldn't start singing with me if I walked up to them and burst out with Fresh Prince.