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March 25, 2009

Slang of the Week: good doobie/dobee (noun phrase)
someone who is diligent and/or whose good behavior meets expectations

Jane tried to be a good doobie and stick to her diet, but she was defeated by the array of fabulous desserts at Melanie’s party.

Celebrity quote
“I tried to be the good doobie for a while. I worked all day at the office, came home, put the kids to bed, my wife would go to bed, and then I'd make a couple pots of coffee and stay up until 4 A.M. and get up at 7. I spent a year working on a book that way...”
-Author George Saunders

Since the late 1960s, the principal meaning of doobie has been a marijuana cigarette, but there’s no connection between drugs and this week’s “good doobie.” The term comes from the American children’s television program Romper Room, which first aired in the early 1950s. The show later became an international phenomenon with versions in several other countries, including Australia and Japan.

In each city where the show appeared, there were local hosts. However, the basic format was the same, including the characters Mr. Do Bee and Mr. Don’t Bee. The bees’ names were used to give children advice on proper manners, such as “Do be a good friend!”

Good doobie is almost always used in a positive way, which differentiates it from the similar phrase goody two shoes. The former emphasizes being good by doing the right thing; the latter, which carries a negative connotation, stresses the superiority someone feels when s/he avoids doing bad things. Perhaps for that reason, good doobie often refers to the speaker, while goody two shoes is almost universally used in criticism of others.

What’s New?
Learn more about the other kind of doobie with quotes from the movie Pineapple Express translated from slang to Standard English.

Take a look in our bookstore for books and DVDs on all kinds of slang! This week’s pick: The Hippie Dictionary: A Cultural Encyclopedia (And Phraseicon) of the 1960s and 1970s by John Bassett McCleary.