Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
My name is Alexa Bills. I am 17 years old and am currently attending classes at Utah State University through an early college program at Intech Collegiate High school. I have always lived in Utah, residing in Tremonton for the first 12 years, and North Logan for the rest. Born in 2001, I grew up around technology. But was limited in access based on the strict rules of my Mormon parents who had banned video games, and personal cellphones, until I was about twelve.
I refuse to be a part of my own generation, I don’t have Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or any form of social media. I do look at Reddit every once in a while, but that is the extent of my web presence. I like memes but only when they have dogs in them. The main way I am introduced to new trends, games, or symbols, is having them explained to me by friends. I am clueless to most things found on the internet, and I kind of prefer that way. I was introduced to this piece of folklore at my cousin's highschool graduation in 2017.
I remember the first time I saw the stupid little sign. I was at my cousin’s high school graduation in 2017 at Rigby Idaho. Every member of the graduating class could make a sign or do a dance before they were handed their diploma. It was a ginormous class of about 420 or so, and at least two dozen of them, decided to do the ok signal held down below the hip. Now I don’t keep up in date, I’m not down with the diddly. But I did recognize the flossing dance from Fortnight, which I was surprised to see, because these were blossoming adults, not eleven year olds. And the vape nations symbol which is a thing where someone holds up two fingers of each hand, one right-side up to make the V and the other upside-down for the N. These two things I recognized, but that little ok sign I didn’t. I knew the sign had to symbolize something other than just ok, you wouldn’t hold it below your waist if it was just ok. But what did it mean? My other cousin was sitting next to me, she’s two years younger and much cooler. So I asked her about it, she told me it meant “gotcha”. Gotcha? I had never seen it before, I might not have known what it meant, but surely I would have seen it, based how popular it seemed to be in the graduating class. Maybe it was just a Rigby thing? It wasn’t, probably a week or two later my boyfriend (Now ex-boyfriend) did it to a friend of ours. Like a grandma, with her crocheted shawl and glasses half down her nose, I asked him to explain it to me. He said it was a game, you tried to trick someone into looking down so you could show them the sign. Someone would gain “cred” and admiration for being the best at it, he called it the circle game. I thought it was ridiculous, and slightly dumb. I still have no idea where it originated.
I think this game is really quite stupid. I don’t get it. But I do recognize that if I did actually get the joke, I’d probably also enjoy the game. I am out of touch as far as the internet goes, maybe there is something I’m missing. But maybe there isn’t I don’t see much of the circle game, anymore. It could of died out because there were a lot of people like me who didn’t get it either.
Dr. Lynne McNeal
Semester and year
G6: Competition Games
Bills, Alexa, "Gotcha!" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 444.
Additional FilesGotcha!Picture.docx (1016 kB)