One of my favourite words is choice. Not as in, “you have a choice between red or purple.” Not as in, “choice apples! 50c a kilo!” But rather choice as in “choice, bro.”
The first time I heard the word choice being used with this meaning was in 1984. One day one of the bad-arse Maori boys, who knew all the rad breakdancing moves, started saying it. At first I thought he was saying “Joyce” (who’s Joyce?), but as soon as I figured out that it was choice, I too started describing things as being choice.
Any good Kiwi slangtionary will have choice amongst its list. Various synonyms are given to help define it. Words such as excellent, nice, cool, awesome, and very good are usually suggested, but none of them really define the true spirit that choiceness is. The meaning of choice is a classic example of, “if you have to ask, you’ll never know.” Choice is choice.
Choice is really part of life as a New Zealander. It’s almost like it’s part of the genetic make up. Almost that you can’t help say it, and sometimes you say it and you’re not even aware of it. I found these two examples of the ingrained effect of choice.
This is from a discussion on benbrown.com, where someone had accused Ben of fabricating a discussion between him and Ani:
KMB: I don’t know if Ani (a Kiwi) would really say “Swell!” Maybe “neat!” or “choice!”, but “swell”?
animoller: Hahahaha, you people are morons. Of course he didn’t fake it. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard all day. I do say swell. I do not say “choice”.
benbrown: You do so say “choice!”
dakota: Yeah, I’ll have to side with Ben. You say choice.
And this is from deangray.org, where he describes doing a skydive:
Before I could gather my bearings or muster my senses back into order, my instructor carefully pulled the goggles from my eyes.
My instructor: “How was that?”
Me: “It was.. uh.. choice.”
“Choice” was the only superlative my brain and mouth could manage at that particular point.
See? Choice is there, whether you like it or not. Choiceness flows through your veins, it is in the air that you breathe! Choice is everywhere.
But there have been times where I’ve felt self-conscious about saying choice a lot. I’ve tried to stop, but somehow it just wasn’t possible.
So I eventually realised that choice is part of me and my cultural heritage. I don’t have folk dancing, weaving or pottery to define who I am culturally, but I have choice and all its associated choiceness. Yes, choice is choice.