"Before you can search for truth, you must be interested in finding it." -Miroslav Volf

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Grout Phenomenon

I think I’ve figured out a way to better relate to Evergreen students—not those at the international school at which I teach, but official Evergreen students. My plan is not to join the “Young Socialists Club” or to cease using deodorant. My plan is to embrace the “grout.”

I don’t know if any of you are aware of what I’m calling the “grout phenomenon” because I’m not sure how widespread this is. Grout, if you don’t know, is that cement-like stuff that is used in construction, often to connect things together or fill in holes. It’s used kind of like mortar is for bricks. The use I’m referencing here is that of tiles, specifically the bathroom wall tiles in the bathrooms in the Seminar 2 building at Evergreen.

I noticed it back in October, and have not yet bothered to ask any male Evergreen students about its purpose/meaning/origins. And I get the feeling it’s a male-bathroom-only thing. Typically, this graffiti is to be found at eye level above the urinals. Sort of like bathroom books but for those who don't have time to "put their feet up."

I did some quick research; urbandictionary.com suggests the trend began at UC Santa Cruz’s library. That doesn’t surprise me that UCSC and Evergreen would share a similar tendency. The only other place I’ve seen this was over Christmas break in the men’s bathroom at Powell’s in Portland. Olympia, Portland, Santa Cruz—the same hippy, book-loving, eco-conscious, liberal vibe in all three cities (just getting warmer as you work your way down the coast).

So let me explain how it works. Basically, you pick a common phrase, an idiom, or pop culture reference, and creatively insert the word “grout” into the phrase.

For example:

• Oscar the Grout
• Grout Expectations
• God is Grout

That’s basically all there is to it. It’s a strange little subculture of “grout artists.” And because it’s written in the grout, it appears to be a form of graffiti that’s harder for custodians to clean up.

Here’s some other ones I can remember off the top of my head:

• The Grout Escape
• Grout of the fire, into the tiling pan
• Grout-cho Marx
• Are you grout of your mind?
• Groutain of youth
• The Grout Beyond
• Poop is funny (no use of “grout” I know, but this was written in the grout-section, so I thought I’d include it, for my six-year old readers out there. And twenty-something readers.)
• Alexander the Grout
• The Grout Wall of China
• Grout of left field
• The Grout, the Bad, and the Ugly

Here’s a few originals (at least I don’t recall seeing these, though with all the grout-ers out there, I'm probably not the first to pen them):

• Fagetta a-grout it!
• Agroutface
• “Inside, groutside, USA…”
• All Agrout Eve
• Three strikes and you're grout
• "I’m a little teapot, short and grout..."
• Stop grouting, you spoiled brat!
• Grout Rushmore

So there you have it. Please, by all means, leave a comment here with your own grout inventions! Any grout ideas?


Heather said...

What a grout article. I had no idea!

joann boswell said...

Grout grief, Charlie Brown!

Barb said...

Dad says he is very groutful for your post.

Matt Boswell said...

A few more I noticed at work today:

-Little Grout on the Prairie
-"What if Grout was one of us..."
-The Groutuate
-Don't cry over spilled grout