12 thoughts on “Overheard: Drugs, Women

  1. auntjone

    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?

  2. Adrianne

    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!”

  3. Moxie

    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!


  4. wondering

    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…

  5. sean

    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.

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