I was down at the fam's last night for dinner and my dad brought out this old phonebook from 1924 that my grandpa gave to him. Grandpa grew up in Watts so the phonebook covered most of South L.A. (This is not related to the subject but I think it's important for you to know that I have street cred, yo. As if growing up in the numbered streets of Chino already didn't give me enough.) We had a good laugh over all the ads in the book. Like the one for the Hydro-Electric Organization, specializing in "water-treatments", which sounded an awful lot like it was code for "electric enimas".
My favorite part of the book was the section that listed off all the "secret organizations" (Victory! I have reached my quotation marks quota!). You know, like the Masons, the Knights of Columbus, the Oddfellows, the Daughters of Tabor, that sort of thing. I don't know what it is about these groups that make me laugh. Oh right, the funny hats. Who doesn't love a Shriner? (Answer: Sheila. She told me once that the reason why bad things happen at the school district is because we have a Masonic Lodge across the street.) And after reading up on them I love them even more. Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine! Come on! I think we all can agree that's pretty awesome.
But it's not even the best one. I came across this list in my search for more secret organizations and at the very bottom were the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. Here's my plan: disguised as a man named Sid (mustachioed, natch), I will infiltrate the RAOofB and work my way up to 2nd degree because I think that Certified Primo is a much cooler sounding rank than Knight Order of Merit. Wish me luck. I hope their meetings are in the morning because my pre-9am-man-voice is pretty convincing.
Incidentally, I think that Knights of Columbus would make a fantastic exclamation. As in "Knights of Columbus, this salsa is hot!"
Addendum: Thanks to the 1924 phonebook we came up with a really fun game (okay, fun to the dorks in my family who like looking at old phonebooks. Go ahead and mock, we don't care.) The beloved elderly will remember this but way back when phone numbers use to have exchanges based on the first 2 digits of your phone number. So for instances my dad's exchange in Bellflower was Torry (86x-xxxx) and my mom's in La Mirada was Whitney (94x-xxxx). We all decided that we needed to bring back exchanges for our phone numbers because it sounds fun and old-timey. So from now on I will be giving my phone number out as Humphry-0-xxxx. Katie is Addison-8-xxxx and the fam's is Occidental-7-xxxx. Fun, huh? This all came about after my dad told us that he still remembers that the exchange for the LA Olympic Auditorium was Richmond because he use to watch the wrestling matches broadcasted from there every Wednesday night while he folded papers for his paper route and rooted for "Classy" Freddie Blassie. Ah, shucks Beave!
What would your exchange be?