The mystery of “Ergo Kumquat”

November 19th, 2012 by

Okay, you’ll just have to bear with me on this.

I have a sense of humor. Good enough that I made a living doing stand-up comedy for 2 years.

I believe I developed my sense of humor as a result of being a military brat. Moving around as much as I did, I discovered the best way to make a mark in a new environment was to be funny.

Funny guys make friends.

Funny guys deflect assholes.

Funny guys get girls.

So it should not be a surprise that at some point in my life, I came up with the conjunction of these two words: Ergo kumquat. As in this context:

“The Mets are indisputably a crap team. I love the Mets. Ergo kumquat I love crap.”

What I mean by using ergo kumquat is simply “therefore.”

It’s just… you know… funny when ‘ergo’ is hooked up with ‘kumquat.’

Or at least I think so.

I have used this stupid phrase for as long as I can remember. Not like everyday, just on occasion to spice up a conversation and elicit a laugh.

It’s enough of who I am that people who are close to me know I use it.

So when this text from my son Will arrived yesterday — “Completely irrelevant, but where does ‘ergo kumquat’ come from? It’s evidently the name of an out-of-print book of poetry, according to Amazon” — I was gobsmacked.

Somebody else uses ergo kumquat?!?!

I did some research. And sure enough there is this:

I mean seriously! The author’s name is Ichmael Yttt. Clearly a pseudonym. Yttt. With no vowels?

If you go here, you will see he [or she] has published four books of poetry, the capstone the heretofore noted “Ergo Kumquat.”

That book was published in 2006. I know for a fact, I have used the phrase for many years before that date.

Therefore I can see three possibilities:

1. Ichmael Yttt is someone who knows me and picked up the phrase from our direct relationship.

2. When I used the phrase “Ergo Kumquat,” I created a mini-meme that spread to people including Ichmael Yttt.

3. A complete, total act of synchronicity: Both Ichmael and I thought of “ergo kumquat” independent of each other.

Logic would dictate the first two. I mean what are the odds that someone… anyone would put those two words together: Ergo. Kumquat.

But taking a spiritual view of the universe, it’s entirely possible my demented military brat mind converged those two words, and this person Ichmael did so in some sort of collective unconscious way.

In any event, I believe that having gone public with this discussion, we can fully expect to see a rock band emerge within the next year or two named Ergo Kumquat.

And just vamping off the top of my head, their first hit single will be “Libido Fritos.”

Not surprisingly the book of poetry called “Ergo Kumquat” is out of print. If anyone can find a copy, please forward me that information. I simply have to own a copy of this book.

8 thoughts on “The mystery of “Ergo Kumquat”

  1. You left out the most obvious explanation: Ichmael Yttt is you. One of your alts is obviously an aspiring poet. Now you know what you’ve been doing during your blackouts.

  2. A la Donald Kaufman, I fear Ichmael Yttt may soon be hanging out in your house, laying on your floor trying to fix his thrown-out back, and finishing the leftovers in your ‘fridge.

  3. Now you’ve got my wheels turning…what if Max Millimeter met Ichmael Yttt? Now there’s some juicy dialogue possibilities!

  4. Scott,

    Do you know a Diane Simpson? She was using “ergo kumquat” as far back as 1995 –
    http://lists.cohousing.org/archives/cohousing-l/msg04458.html
    Perhaps she knows Mr. Yttt (or knows you, or, as I suspect, that’s the same thing).

    I also found it being used here: http://www.adamofficial.com/es/node/237013
    Although I assume “Mardonna” is just a pseudonym you use (we all know how much you lurve Adam Lambert).

    I also see where you used it on a Trekkie forum, posting under the name Foxhot:
    http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=158542

    And in the Second Life forums, as Perduto Pontoppidan, Lord of the Crows:
    http://forums-archive.secondlife.com/112/14/78940/1.html

    Your alternate personalities certainly have varied interests.

    1. Scott says:

      Okay, the mystery thickens. Diane Simpson may have used the term in 1995, but I swear my usage of pre-dates that. I did stand-up from 1985-1987 and I DEFINITELY used it in my act. And while I can’t date the precise moment where the words “ergo” and “kumquat” melded out of my mouth next to each other, it was definitely before 1985.

      Now I suppose it’s possible I could be suffering from fake memory [or whatever that condition is] and HEARD someone say it, but in all honesty, I remember humble ol’ me generating the phrase myself.

      This is not the only such item I’ve coined. For example, there’s this:

      “I feel like the fifth wheel of a horse.”

      Yet another stupid thing I’ve been known to say to generate a laugh when describing a state of being out-of-sorts or feeling like crap.

      I may have to start trademarking these dumb lingo items before more Ichmael Yttt’s come along and steal my thunder!

  5. Leibniz and Newton both invented calculus (an entire discipline) independently. Somehow, the idea that two people would string together the same two words doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

  6. Shaula Evans says:

    You could always contact Wasteland Press, the self-publishing company that put out the poetry book, and see if they can connect you with a copy or with the author.

    And I found what looks like a copy for sale at Waterstones.com in the UK.

    This post now has a very high search rank for “Ichmael Ytt”, so perhaps Mr. Ytt will come to you.

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