Going Ham. Well, More Like Going Pork Chop.

I teach a very special group of young people, and as a result I have come to develop a very colorful street jargon. It’s hilarious (even to my students) when a middle-aged, gray-haired English-teacher-slash-author starts discussing the hundreds of varieties of marijuana and their potencies, can accurately list the necessary ingredients to go about producing crystal meth via the Shake and Bake method, or can tell you how many years you’re gonna get for a standard B&E if a firearm was involved.

I have one absolute favoritest street term, though, and it’s mostly because it’s a full-body thing. It involves making an angry face and jerking your arms in front of your torso very quickly while taking a step forward with one foot. You do all of those theatrics while simultaneously announcing, “I’m gonna go ham on you.” You can amend the statement to include “on yo ass” if the situation warrants.

Obviously, being gone ham on is not something that you want to happen to you, ever. I also have to admit that I’ve never actually witnessed a full-on hamming, although I do watch people threaten to ham someone on a daily basis.

Sadly, I’m insanely jealous that going on ham on someone is not a threat that I can use because it just reduces my pork victim to tears of laughter. Trust me, I’ve tried it. Many times. NO ONE was impressed with my angry threat, not even my twelve-year-old, and I even did the jerky arm stompy thing while saying it. Maybe my angry face needs work.

I’ve had to resort to the concept of going pork chop on people instead. It involves actually following through with the hamming, instead of just running your mouth about it, and the jerky posturing thing has now been replaced by a swift punch to the throat with the flat edge of your open hand, hence the “chop” part. Now, in response to hearing someone announce that he is about to “go ham,” I can reply with my threat to “pork chop” him. I had the opportunity to try this out this week, and I’m happy to report that there was no laughter. Lots and lots of confusion and a modicum of lack of air for a few minutes, but no laughter.