Sunday, March 12, 2006

Where did the word "Phoon" come from?

Oddly enough, "Phoon" was not originally paired with what you now know as a Phoon pose.

When I was in high school, a neighbor and his brother used to say "oon" to make each other laugh. (Why? I have no idea. Say anything enough times and it can start to sound odd or funny. You can probably think of words or sounds that amused you or others when you were children.)

The summer after high school, I worked at a summer camp. I met Peter who had just as bizarre and silly of a sense of humor as I did. I remembered a story from my sister's college days: there were a couple of guys who, when they saw each other, even at a great distance, would call out some word and then strike a particular pose. I wanted to do something similar with Peter.

In need of a silly sounding word, I chose "phoon," obviously influenced by my neighbors saying "oon." (So, no, "phoon" is not based on anything else such as buffoon or typhoon...it was completely just a funny sounding word rooted in another funny sounding word.)

Next, I needed a pose. But I did not choose what you now know as the Phoon. Instead, I chose the pose you see in the top part of this photo, with knee raised in front.

So, when Peter and I saw each other, we'd say "phoon" and quickly snap into that scrunched pose. And that is how I originally formed an association between the word "phoon" with a physical stance.

Can you help me find Peter? (Last name "Gross" perhaps?) Back in 1980, he was a teen, short, blonde hair, skinny guy. I have wished that he could see what has become of phooning. His family lived in Mt. Hermon, California, on the road facing the recreation field, and he worked on staff in the Ivy Dining Room.

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