“Whup!” Perhaps I have made this noise my entire life—I can't be sure. I only recently noticed that I say “whup” a lot; to the point where something needs to be done to stop it. My “whup” does not, in any way, sound cool like the “whup” in “open up a can of whup ass!” No, my “whup” is a meager, small-voiced, barely audible yelp that escapes my throat before I can catch it and push it back down where it belongs. It almost sounds like a quick and quiet “hup,” but there is a definite “W” forming in my lips when I say it. So, I spell it “whup.”
I formulated a theory last week that I say it because I am in the middle of saying “Whoops;” I try to stop myself when I realize that I am not at fault in whatever incident occurred, but am already committed to making some noise. Hence I say “whup.” I would go along with this theory except that I never, ever use the word “whoops.” If I am in the wrong usually I'll just say “my bad,” since I'm a teenager of the 90's.
So that begs the question: When exactly do I use “whup?” Well, it seems to be a catch-all a variety of situations. Here is a sampling from the past week alone:
Somebody opened a door as I walked by and almost hit me in the face. I turned to the person and let out a mild “whup.” In this situation, I was not at fault, so it couldn't be a “whoops.” I was also probably a little annoyed at the person in question. “Whup” could be loosely translated to mean “watch where you're going you stupid fuck!” All tucked into a hushed mumbling “whup.”
A person walking in front of me dropped something. “Whup!” I exclaimed. Here I was probably about to inform this person of his misfortune, but he turned around to pick up the dropped item as I was about to tell him. I let out the “whup” in an attempt to show the man that I saw the incident and, even though he noticed it, I had his back. I also pointed at the item along with the “whup,” which was somewhat primal behavior on my part.
As I turned a corner down a hallway, I almost trampled some poor chick. I feinted right and then moved left to go around her. She did the exact opposite maneuver causing us to block each other's paths. We stood there in the hallway engaged in some bizarre two-step trying to move around each other. After I made the left movement, I saw an opening and let out a mild “whup!” I think this “whup” was used as a small, but significant exclamation of triumph since I was able to finally maneuver past her.
The facility where I work has a security gate that opens when you swipe your badge along the sensor. The gate takes a second to close after somebody in front of you goes through. If you try to walk through before the gate recloses, you'll make it through, but an alarm goes off and the person behind you in line has to wait about 30 seconds for it to reset. A lady in front of me wasn't paying attention and walked through the gate without swiping. Not wanting to lose 30 seconds of my life, I tried to stop her before she reached the point of no return. By the time the word “STOP” had reached my tongue, she had already set off the alarm. My hand was reached out in a mock attempt to grab her by the collar while I let out a mouse-like “whup.”
A guy that I have never seen before in my life asked me how I was doing as he passed me by. He did not stop for an answer, but I wanted to acknowledge that I heard the question. What should I have said? I didn't want to inform this stranger of anything significant about my life; I doubt he cared since he didn't show any desire to stop. My mind was racing for an appropriate response. Nothing came to mind so I was just about to say, “Sup!” Then I realized that he was an older gentleman and likely a boss of mine somewhere up the chain. So, my “sup” became a gentle “whup.”
We have a “Pardon Me,” “Watch where the hell you're going,” “Dude, you dropped something,” “I'm fine how are you,” and a “DON'T DO IT!” It's a versatile mutter—no pun intended. I used it on more occasions than this, but there does seem to be a pattern emerging. Firstly, I tend to use “whup” around strangers. Second, it seems to occur when I am about to say something and attempt to reel it back in to say something different. The “whup” phenomenon definitely requires further investigation. My goal: Elimination. It sounds awkward and makes me feel like a Chihuahua when I uncontrollably yap it. To eliminate it, I must first understand it. I'll see if I use it around people I know.