I once volunteered for a study at the University of Saskatchewan.
Since it offered a Native Studies program, I thought it would need a First Nations person as part of its practical studies. I still can’t understand why a person hung up the phone on me.
Throughout my life I have accumulated bits and pieces of useless trivia.
I have a radio background. Back in the day, radio announcers had to come up with their own show prep. This is when the DJ shares useless music trivia with listeners. I gathered up enough trivia about Aboriginal people I thought the U of S Native Studies program could use for its course.
One of the things I enjoy is gathering words that are mixed with Cree and English. One of those words is injinuity. This basically means a person who thinks ahead with a bit of creativity. Kind of like an Indian McGyver.
For example, a person who thinks with injinuity always travels with a pair of nylons in the glove compartment. If one of the fan belts happens to snap, the person can use the nylons as a fan belt. It will hold for a couple of hundred miles.
Also nylon can be used to hold back the water and gas lines if they develop a leak. If all else fails and the situation is tough, the person can slip the nylon over their head and walk into a bank for an injinuity long-term loan.
Anytime First Nations people get together there is bound to be a tall-tale contest. We would try to outdo each other with stories we would make up on the fly. The stories have to be almost believable. And the stories have to have some humour. I don’t want to brag, but I am hard to beat when it comes to stretching a story.
The best part is I can poker-face my way through a story where the listeners will think twice. My toughest competition were elders who can BS a story like it was actually true.
One time I attended a gathering for an elder who was celebrating his 100th birthday. I was given the privilege of being one of the helpers for the elders at the celebration. There was a long table with about a dozen men who were all in their 60s and 70s.
The younger elders were asking the older ones questions about the good old days. Advice was also sought. One of the younger elders asked the old man at what age does a man stop thinking about sex.
For a long time the senior thought about it and finally responded “82.” You could just see the relief come over the faces of the younger ones. Most were smiling, thinking they still had several years before their sex lives stopped.
Then the old man completed his sentence: “1982 was the last time I thought about sex.”
Then there was a palpable look of confusion on the others as they tried to calculate the numbers. It was hilarious.
“I better hurry up because I only have one year left,” one said.
Injinuity doesn’t have to be used in a practical sense. It can also be a part of a story. This is one of my favourite injinuity stories.