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Ben Johnson Day

Most Fridays I go to the jail to do some essay tutoring, and on the way I listen to Reggae Jam with Sunshine Girl on WTCC. A few weeks ago Sunshine Girl and the King (who's in the studio with her--he does a segment of soca music) were talking about Ben Johnson Day.

I at first thought it was Ben Jonson Day, and I was wondering why Jamaica should have decided to honor Ben Jonson.

Well, it hadn't. Ben Johnson Day, I discovered, is the Thursday before your Friday payday, when your money is at its lowest. On those days, the cupboard and fridge may not yield much to eat, so you may have to make do with porridge and salt fish, or bammy (which, when it gets stale, you have to soak in something like milk, if you're lucky, or water, if you're not--reminds me of the bread the folks on Nilt ate in Ancillary Justice).

No one is sure how it got that name, though one legend is that Ben Johnson was the name of an overseer in charge of bringing the pay packets in on Thursday night. Some associate the name with the Jamaican sprinter Ben Johnson, but others point out the term has been around a lot longer than the athlete has.

I don't know how Sunshine Girl and the King happened to be talking about it--I must have stopped for a coffee at that point--but I did discover that there's an old reggae song from the 1960s called "Ben Johnson Day," so maybe that's how.

You learn something new every day.


Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
queenoftheskies
Nov. 29th, 2014 11:31 pm (UTC)
I think maybe I've heard that before, because it sounds familiar, but I didn't actually remember it until you mentioned it here.
asakiyume
Nov. 29th, 2014 11:32 pm (UTC)
It was *totally* new to me, but it's a handy concept.
wuweibaby
Nov. 30th, 2014 08:35 am (UTC)
Something new
Unless you stay in bed all day, snuggled with a kitty, with your head buried beneath the covers.



No, I always get up, but until spring comes that's where I want to be.



I will explore your post further in the morning. :)
asakiyume
Dec. 1st, 2014 03:29 am (UTC)
Re: Something new
You can learn something about the marvels of kitties and the resonance of their purring, I bet ^_^
khiemtran
Nov. 30th, 2014 08:39 am (UTC)
Interesting, thanks! I wonder why names for the day before pay-day aren't more common. Or maybe I just haven't heard of them before.
asakiyume
Dec. 1st, 2014 03:29 am (UTC)
I wonder! It's the first one I've run across.
snaky_poet
Nov. 30th, 2014 12:13 pm (UTC)
Interesting — but I wish there was a Ben Jonson day.
asakiyume
Dec. 1st, 2014 03:32 am (UTC)
Somewhere there surely must be a Ben Jonson day. If there is, nineweaving knows about it. She's written some books in which he stars as a detective.
snaky_poet
Dec. 1st, 2014 04:46 am (UTC)
Oh, them I must read! :-D (After all, if Christopher Marlowe was a spy....)

Edited at 2014-12-01 04:47 am (UTC)
asakiyume
Dec. 1st, 2014 04:47 am (UTC)
The first one is called Cry Murder in a Small Voice.
snaky_poet
Dec. 1st, 2014 04:51 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
oiktirmos
Nov. 30th, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC)
The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. Lev. 19:13
...because he needs them to feed his family,to pay bills, etc.
asakiyume
Dec. 1st, 2014 03:32 am (UTC)
Exactly!
galestorm
Nov. 30th, 2014 06:18 pm (UTC)
I just _had_ to click on that link to read about bammy cakes, which led me to other links about Jamaican food, such as the beef / chicken patties, okra (fried, please!), and pineapple soda. Yeah, I've never been to Jamaica, but I lived in Boston, which seems to have Jamaican restaurants or a lot of folk with a Jamaican background.
browngirl
Dec. 1st, 2014 03:21 am (UTC)
*waves from across town* I live in Boston too and I'm from Jamaica. Drop me a line if you'd like to cook together!
galestorm
Dec. 2nd, 2014 03:30 pm (UTC)
Gosh, would that I could, but I moved away from Boston about a decade ago. Good luck finding Boston cooking friends!
asakiyume
Dec. 1st, 2014 03:33 am (UTC)
Springfield, Massachusetts, has a pretty large Jamaican community too--though I only learned that through listening to WTCC.
littlemoremasks
Nov. 30th, 2014 08:45 pm (UTC)
That term is now a permanent part of my vocabulary.
asakiyume
Dec. 1st, 2014 03:36 am (UTC)
I thought it was a term you'd appreciate.
cucumberseed
Nov. 30th, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC)
Crap, that would make this Ben Johnson week.
asakiyume
Dec. 1st, 2014 03:39 am (UTC)
I'll share my porridge with you (in the icon, my porridge looks suspiciously like strawberries....)
cucumberseed
Dec. 1st, 2014 05:20 pm (UTC)
That's really the best kind of suspicious porridge.

Okay, the bar on "suspicious porridge" sounds awfully *low* when I think about it, and the "best kind" seems like damningly faint praise...
asakiyume
Dec. 2nd, 2014 04:38 am (UTC)
Hahaha--now I want a T-shirt that says "The best kind of suspicious porridge"!
browngirl
Dec. 1st, 2014 03:23 am (UTC)
Now I'm nostalgically hungry. If one has access to frying equipment, bammy is actually really delicious when soaked and refried. Admittedly I ate it mostly as a child who didn't know if she was being fed it because her caretakers were low on cash, and/or in the US as a special treat 'from home'.

(I have heard of Ben Johnson day, and have no idea why it's called that. It's a useful concept, tho. Thanks for reminding me. :)
asakiyume
Dec. 1st, 2014 03:28 am (UTC)
I thought of you when I was reading up on it! I was wondering if you'd have heard of it :-)

The old book I was reading up on bammy in was saying it's very nice indeed when freshly made!
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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