Mighty Life List
Jul 9 2008

Overheard: Drugs, Women

Scenario: A young man in his mid-twenties talking on his cell as he walks home from work.

“I know what you’re saying. I hear you. Willpower, homes. It’s gonna be hard to go out, have a good time, have some drinks, and not hit that. But that’s where willpower comes in.

12 Responses to “Overheard: Drugs, Women”

  • ~k Says:

    Holmes. Not homes.

  • PAPA Says:

    I’m surprised. Usually people like him are in line in front of me at Safeway.

  • auntjone Says:

    I think perhaps the word he was looking for was “scruples” and not so much “willpower”. Or maybe “self respect and respect for those you’re with”. Damn, when did I turn into my mother?

  • Shamelessly Sassy Says:

    That might’ve been one of my neighbors. It just might have.

  • Adrianne Says:

    It is bizarre what people will talk about on their cell phones. Last night I was started by a man yelling into his phone, “Yes, I am an undercover agent! No, I cannot call the other agents, I’m under cover!”

  • Mary Peyton Says:

    Yeah- I noticed the “homes” typo too, so I had to double check on urban dictionary!


    Always a good resource!

  • Moxie Says:

    Oh how funny, I just had to post too about the homes thing. I guess that’s what happens when you’re a spelling genius!


  • ~A Says:

    I’m thinkin’ it’s a woman, too.

  • Michelle Says:

    I’ve had that exact conversation…twice probably, at each end of the phone.


  • wondering Says:

    Given the popularity of “homeboy” and its comparatively clear and longstanding etymology (person from one’s upbringing, i.e. childhood or home, dating back to the 1940s in “black slang” and as far back as the 1880s in other uses), I would think that the original would be correct as “homes” which gradually morphed into “Holmes” — probably after being heard by people unfamiliar with black and/or street slang. Such as:

    “Did he just call that guy ‘Homes’?”
    “Nah, that’s no proper name. The guy must be named Holmes, like Sherlock.”
    (cue slang-users ROLFing and incorporating “Holmes” to sub for “homes” as an in-joke because it was so funny when those clueless white folks/farmers/suburbs-dwellers/whatever Didn’t Get It.)

    ACTUALLY I am pretty sure that “Holmes” with the audible L only came into popular usage – as a contraction and variant of “homeboy” – after Will Smith’s “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” days but I can’t find anything to definitively support that. It seems reasonable to assume that Will Smith did whatever he could to make sure his show and character appealed to both whites and blacks, and converting “homes” – which would be familiar slang to many blacks – to “Holmes” by dint of only a pronunciation change, making it familiar and appealing to many whites. Marketing pure and simple. Seems to me.

    I think it’s much more likely, and logical, that “homes” was the original, as a contraction of “homeboy,” and “Holmes” is a variant spelling/pronunciation of “homes” which came later.

    In any event, I think those of us focused on “homes” vs. “holmes” are missing the point…

  • Maggeh Says:

    I think “holmes” is more popular, and “homes” makes more sense to me for the reasons Wondering outlined. The reason I didn’t change it when K pointed it out is that Urban Dictionary has it listed both ways.


    That, and the italics in K’s comment seemed more pushy than helpful, you know?

  • sean Says:

    i’d heard it all growing up, but i first saw “holmes” in print in thrasher magazine in 1982.

    it was a popular term well before fresh prince.