Man Down


When I was zooming around in the rental car in Australia in March, one morning I heard on the radio:   “a pedestrian has been knocked over in Rooty Hill”

Now with the exception of  what happened to the unfortunate pedestrian (who did survive)  this struck me as being really funny.   “Knocked over”  makes me think of robbery  –  the bank was knocked over;    the teenagers knew a good house to knock over;  the bin was knocked over as the bad guys escaped.

And then anything involving the word root is sort of “dirty”…….    In Aussie vernacular the word root works both as a verb and a noun and is a synonym for f*ck :   “oh mate you’re rooted”;    “he’s a good root”;    “the lawn mower is rooted”.    We would not say that we were “rooting for a team”  as that would lead to extreme exhaustion  – or one being truly rooted afterwards.

I was always very glad that I never had to say I lived in Rooty Hill.

Here in DC I am a pedestrian and always expecting to be knocked down or hit by a car.   It does not instil much confidence in me when I see the little warning signs lying flat on the road.     When they go down they stay down!     



32 responses

  1. I’m guessing they probably don’t sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (with its ‘root root root’ line) at baseball games in Australia. Now that I think of it, they probably don’t even play baseball games in Australia.

    • I’ve heard bits of the “Ballgame” ditty in sports-in-30-seconds-news clips but didn’t realise there was a ‘root root root’ line! Now I will never be able to go to a baseball game!

      I had to Google baseball in Australia to check how big it is there – Cricket is more popular though there is an Australian Baseball Federation. I played Softball (very badly and unwillingly) at school and one of my boys played T-Ball for awhile. That’s as close as I’ve come to Baseball.

      • I hadn’t heard that line until I went to my first (and only) ball game in Denver back in ’06. My American friends were bemused as to why I suddenly fell down and started rolling around in apparent pain… I was laughing so hard. I laughed until I cried on the way home too when the driver told me there were verses, one of which goes:

        Nelly Kelly was sure some fan,
        She would root just like any man,
        Told the umpire he was wrong,
        All along, good and strong.
        When the score was just two to two,
        Nelly Kelly knew what to do,
        Just to cheer up the boys she knew,


  2. I say, root rot must be a horrible condition.

    Rooty tooty fresh and fruity no longer has the same meaning. I think that used to be the tag line for Fruit Loops cereal, or maybe it was the child’s plate and International House of Pancakes.

    In Aussieland does one say I’m rooted or root me??!!!

    For real, this post cracks me up. I’d have to agree with you. It’s not a good thing when the little signs are plowed over and stay down.

    • Well, during my teenage years I was asked “wanna root?” LOL – that sounds crass doesn’t it! “Want to make out” sounds so much nicer but I don’t think that was in our boys’ vocabulary. “(S)he needs a good root” was a popular expression about an uptight person.

      Those signs make me laugh. I’ve yet to see one that doesn’t have rubber marks or auto paint on them or isn’t mangled in the middle of the road. Makes you wonder if drivers don’t deliberately hit them.

      • You’ve ruined my use of root forever. The root drive will no longer be the root drive, nor the root word the root word.

        Oh, I’m sure some drivers plow them over on purpose. It does sounds like wicked fun. Heehee.

  3. When I’m walking with my daughter in San Francisco, I’m always alarmed by the way she casually jaywalks across busy city streets. I’ve asked her if she isn’t worried about getting hit by a car, and she just laughs and says, “Everyone does it, all the time. If you had to walk all the way to a crosswalk or corner, it would take you forever to get someplace.” Yet there was one day when we were driving back to her place through downtown, and two young men stood half way in the traffic lane, blocking me from making a right hand turn. I remarked that those “boys” were going to get hit, and she said, “They deserve it. Pedestrians here do such stupid stuff, it’s a wonder more people aren’t run over.” I don’t know if she was being sarcastic or just irritable—I suspect being downtown is as stressful for her as it is for me. But even in cities where you have a lot of pedestrians, the streets are designed for cars, not for walkers.

    • I’m usually a boring rule follower – even walking that extra block in the opposite direction to the flashing pedestrian lights. There’s a site called Struck in DC – it’s a Twitter list giving the running total of pedestrians and cyclists hit since Jan 1st 2011 … the running total since Jan 1st 2011 is 143! That’s sort of scary and makes me super cautious crossing the street even when I’m in a crosswalk at traffic lights and have the little green man.

    • There are some funny town names in Pennsylvania – Intercourse and Puseyville come to mind. I bought heaps of postcards in Intercourse and giggled stupidly at the thought of my Aussie friends getting them.

  4. Yes, crossing the road in DC is a challenge. Go to Rome – there re no crossings and few traffic lights – they make up their own traffic lanes too. Add to that the Mediterranean style of driving. It’s madness!

      • LOL! Apparently when my friends went to India and they were riding in the taxi from the airport, one of them looked out the window and saw…an elephant in the road. Along with bicycles, rickshaws, cars hooting incessantly…she thought, she had hallucinated.

  5. Never heard the rooting for fing but that’s pretty fun! Come to think of it, somebody probably did use it around me, to me (not in a good way–or not in a bad way, depending how you look at it) or whatever but I simply didn’t understand.

    Love that sign!

  6. LOL that’s what I love here. Pedestrians have first priority. You are even allowed to cross at red light if the car is far enough away. The only two things one has to be rather save then sorry with is tram and taxi.
    Ironically enough, this is the only country I have been mostly almost-hit by a car crossing the street while having the green man showing up.

    • There is no respect for the poor old pedestrian here – we are supposed to have “first priority” but the car is mighty here! 🙂 I rarely swear but recently I’ve found myself muttering bad words as cars whiz around me when I have the green man.

    • When the olympics went to Sydney in 2000 the city painted arrows on the footpaths telling pedestrians which way to look for cars – we drive on the left so you have to look right first. When I first came here I nearly got killed looking in the wrong direction and stepping off the curb into the path of a car coming from the other way! Scared the hell out of me.

  7. LOL! Thanks for the lesson. I can see how that would sound funny. We have a priest at my church who is from the Dominican Republic. His English isn’t so great and one day during his sermon he was talking about the peons outside of the church. I thought he was talking about people but as it turns out he was really saying pigeons. 😉

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