because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Tingo Tuesday: Are you Pana Po’oing or is it Head Lice?

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The author sent me this new & improved graphic! Oh yes he did.
The author sent me this new & improved graphic! Oh yes he did.

It’s Tingo Tuesday!

The first Tuesday of each month, I share a word from The Meaning of Tingo & Other Extraordinary Words From Around the World by Adam Jacot de Boinod.

Today, I’m sharing the Hawaiian word, pana po’o.

Have you ever scratched your head to help you remember something you’ve forgotten? Well, then you were pana po’oing.

I do that all the time. Lose stuff, like my car keys. Then I’ll stand there, scratching my head, trying to think where I was the last time I had them. But as I’m scratching, I worry that I might actually have head lice, so I usually call a friend and make her come over to check. I haven’t ever had lice. At least, so far. But you never know. And by the time my friend leaves, and I’ve shampooed with Kwell (because what does she know?), I remember I still don’t have my car keys. So then I stand there pana po’oing again. And as I am scratching my head, I wonder if I might have head lice. Some days, I don’t get very far.

I love how other cultures have language for the actions and concepts for which we haven’t necessarily got the right words.

Now it’s your turn!

Leave me a comment about a time when you pana po’oed and received a coupon good for one box of Nix worth $15.76 at Walgreens.

Just kidding.

If I love your comment the way I hate vermin, I’ll slip a photo of you into my sidebar so folks can check you out all month!

If you’re not a blogger, don’t worry. I have plans for you, too.

This month’s winner is Mary from The Teachable Mom. Last month we were talking about folks who like to let it all hang out: cotisueltos. Mary wrote:

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 6.56.26 PM

You have to give it up to Mary for admitting she loves her thong-tha-thong-tha-thong!

Tell me about a real or fictional time you experienced pana po’o moment. What did you lose? And did scratching help you find it? 

tweet me @rasjacobson

You have until May 31st, to enter! NOTE: I’m taking May off for my blogoversary, but a new winner will be revealed on the first Tuesday in June!

38 thoughts on “Tingo Tuesday: Are you Pana Po’oing or is it Head Lice?

  1. I do this often but never knew there was a word for it, often to try to remember where my glasses are – that are sitting on the top of my head, mere inches away from the pana po’oing. Oh, and if this were a giveaway, I would take the nix. Lice love my kids (sigh).

    1. If you win, I really WILL send you the Nix. Because I so understand. I really do. Even though it hasn’t happened. Yet.

  2. Call me next time you are pana po’oing! I am the Master Nit Picker! I got a lot of practice after an epidemic in my kid’s school years ago. I can set you up in front of the tv where you can watch ‘Barney’ while licking a huge lollipop as I go to work picking. 🙂

    1. THAT sounds like a great offer. TV while someone checks my head for nits? Girl, now I just need to know if you are within driving distance.

      1. Amherst, MA is only about 3-4.5 hours away and about 300 miles. Piece of cake!

        1. Bwahaha! You are in trouble now. If I am ever afflicted, I’ll be at your doorstep! 😉

  3. Ha! 🙂 I don’t scratch my head while I’m pana po’oing, I rock. If I’m seated, I rock forward and back from the hips – no rocking chair required. If I’m standing, I rock from the balls of my feet to my heels. In both instances, eyes are trained up and to the right, looking at whatever’s there, but seeing the file cabinets of my mind. 🙂

    1. I rock, too, but I figured it was just because I was mentally disturbed or something. Now I can say it’s because I’m thinking about where I put something….

      1. Hi Dyanne! *waving* You are sooooo not deranged. You just keep on rockin’, baby!

  4. Which means I’m really not pana po’oing. 😉

  5. I often pans po’po when I head into the kitchen. I can never really remember why I went in there. You would think I went in there for food, but no. There are other reasons. To throw something away–then you’d think that I would have something in my hand, but I often seem to have forgotten it. To get a piece of mail that is on the counter in the kitchen, perhaps. To get a glass of something to drink. I might be thirsty, but you’d think I’d remember I was thirsty. Or hungry. But truth to tell, I often can’t remember why I am standing in the middle of the kitchen. Am I supposed to be feeding the dogs? Perhaps. Taking out the garbage. Could be. Often I just haven’t a clue. That’s why I’m lana po’oing.

    1. Hi Maire! I think my word for pana po’poing is twirling. I’ll do exactly what you are talking about. Land in a room without a clue: then, I leave the room and remember and come back in again. My husband says I’m spinning. But I prefer twirling. I sound less out of control somehow.

  6. Well, NOW I’m scratching my head, of course. Not because I’m thinking hard (it’s too early in the morning for that) but because suddenly everything is itching on me. Even though there’s no way I have lice.

    There’s NO WAY, right!?!

    It’s like when my kids are getting over a cold (REALLY, you’re just FINE!) and I mention that they seem better and then they CAN’T STOP COUGHING.

    The minute you draw attention to something (not YOU, specifically, but anyone) it suddenly takes over the world. The power of suggestion is strong with this one. And all the members of my family.

    Or should I call it the po’ower of suggestion?
    Either way.

    Lice is no bueno.

    1. Julie:

      I totally understand. I itched as I wrote this post. And I’m itching as I read the comments. The power of suggestion, indeed.

  7. Is there a Hawaiian word/phrase for closing eyes, looking up at the sky and biting your bottom-lip? When I’ve done this in public — like leaving the grocery store without a list — I’ve discovered that people join in! They ask me the most imaginative concerned questions!

    From “Sir…are you alright?” to “Do you need a Kleenex or toilet-paper?”

    Lice? Hmmm, nada.

    1. Dear Professor Taboo:

      I don’t know about a Hawaiian word, but I rather like the image you looking up into the sky biting your lip. If you know what I mean. That’s hot.

      1. You got me rolling on the floor with that one Renee! Thank you. My image and interpretation was….slightly different. 😉

  8. I know it is strange, but i used to love the lice checks in middle school. It was like a mini head massage!

    1. Oooh Kate! If I didn’t know that someone probably had lice, I probably would have enjoyed those little head massages more. Way to find the rainbow after the rain!

  9. I hated lice checks in school. I was always so terrified I might have them and then everyone would make fun of me and then I would cry and be stuck at home with stinky lice shampoo on my head. That stuff reeks!

    1. I dumped a whole bottle on my son’s head one summer after I learned his counselor had buggies. Call me crazy, but we never got ’em.

      And I wouldn’t have laughed at you.

  10. Oooooh, are you a sweetheart!!! I can’t believe I’m your featured blogger! I’m so honored, thank you! You made my week! And I love Tingo Tuesday … though I’m itchy and scratchy all over now. We’re on Spring Break in FL in a condo rental. Remind me not to put my head down on anything this week. I’ll sleep standing up, thank you! xoxo

    1. OMG! Do not put your head down! And you and your thong sooooo deserved this award.

  11. Finally, someone recognizes the glory of the Hawaiian language. I am all about the pana po’o when I lose things. The problem is that sometimes I pana po’o when my hands are dirty. It’s bad to pana po’o in the middle of a diaper blow out, or when you’re gutting a fish, or picking your nose or changing the oil or handling raw pork or painting your nails. In other words, you have no idea what’s in my hair, but it’s not pretty.

    1. Hahaha! I’m laughing because you should see my hair right now. I went swimming last night a s went to bed with a wet head. I look like Medusa. So I understand pana po’ing with dirty hands, but right now? My fingers won’t even go through my ratty locks. Maybe a photo is in order, for a later post.

  12. When I was in college, and living in the dorms, I came into custody of a nest of orphaned possum babies. My room mate and I tried to mother them as best we could while searching for a vet, or animal rescue, that would be willing to take them. Of course pets, never mind wildlife, was discouraged in the dorm so to sneak them in and out I hid them in my large (permed) afro! True story! And I itch now just thinking about it! =)

    1. Beth! Did you REALLY put a possum in your hair? This has to be fiction! Now I’m itching!

  13. Is there an offshoot word from pana po’o to cover scratching your head trying to remember why your scratching your head? That would be me.

    1. I think they call those “Senior Moments” — and I’m starting to have those, too. I prefer the Hawaiian pan’a po. It sounds a lot nicer, don’t you think?

  14. Wow, the author sent you a new cover image – awesome!

    I pana po’o every time I hear how well “Two and a Half Men” does in the ratings.

    1. Jules: I hate that show, but I have to admit, the theme song is awfully catchy!

      (“Men, men, men, men, manly men…”)

      A baby could have written that. Am I wrong?

  15. The last time I pana po’oed, I was in Denver International Airport and couldn’t remember where I parked my car…

  16. I’m just an itchy scratchy bastard, in a perpetual cycle of itch-scratch-itch-scratch-bleed-itch-etc (I’ll stop – I imagine readers are getting turned-on by now). Anyway, I’m so busy scratching most of the time, that I wouldn’t even notice if I pana po’oed. One Friday, I did a thorough physical therapy evaluation of an in-patient right before leaving the hospital for the weekend. I got a call the next morning letting me know the gentleman was infested with scabie mites. I won’t go into the degree of itching that I had for the following couple of days. I’d type more, but I have to go find that wire brush in the garage.

  17. Renee, I’ve been waiting all day to read your post. I love Tingo Tuesday, as you well know since I borrowed the idea for my blog as well (modified and with Renee’s permission, folks). I’ve been editing all day, and thinking that reading your post would be my treat to myself at the end of the day for working so hard.

    And here I am, reading and scratching my head and worrying about head lice. Ack!

    Just kidding! I love the post and the comments. I pana po’o quite often, also usually in the kitchen. If I can’t remember why I’m supposed to be there, I usually just get a cookie and stop worrying about it. 🙂

  18. Delightful to have a word for this activity, which I do all the time. The last time I pana po’oed was when I was standing in my room in a third-rate hotel, trying to remember if I’d checked the sheets for bedbugs.

  19. I sometimes pane po’o … love that ‘o part … while I am reading. It ‘s such a cool term and has a good ring to it. “head lice” – not so much. Ack!

  20. […] month’s winner is Outlaw Mama. Last month we were talking about the Hawaiian word pana po’o, which refers to how some people scratch their heads when they are trying to remembe…. Outlaw […]

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