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The definative word on dibs!

April 9, 2010


The thing with writing the blog on Fridays, is that everything pertinent has already happened and since the weekend isn’t quite underway, the funny stuff is yet to come.  We seem to do a lot of work and see each other more in the beginning of the week, so a lot of topics get written about before my turn, hence my new habit of calling dibs.  Dibs was big deal when I was a child, once it was called – there was nothing that could be done about it, unless the original person “undibbed” .  But obviously different parts of the country interpret dibs differently, so I thought it was time to do a little dibs research: 

First, one must have a mutual understanding of the word.  According to Wikipedia and the Urban dictionaries, which of course are the definitive sources of all things controversial – there are a couple of relevant definitions:

Dibs (also Bags/Bagsy, shotgun , shotty and other variants) is a common informal convention to reserve or declare full or partial ownership of a community resource, such as a chair, or the ability to have priority regarding speaking to an attractive man or woman (e.g. at a party).  In Chicago, “dibs” also refers to the practice of holding a shoveled-out parking space after a heavy snowfall by putting chairs, laundry baskets, or other items in the street to mark the claimed space.  As in all things, there is the “Chicago Way” and the “other way” and explains why my partners are not taking my dibs seriously – they did not grow up in Chicago, so cannot fully understand. 

So to clarify, further Dibs definitions found on the internet, so of course it must be true, include:

  1. The universal law to gaining property or ownership of an item/object.
  2. The most powerful force in the universe, it is used to call possession of a certain object or idea. There are very few things that trump dibs.
  3. Dibs is a legally binding statement. Once the announcement has been made that one has “Dibs” on anything (living or not) it cannot be disputed.
  4. Dibsing is also often used in sports. In the game of tennis, for example, you are allowed to dibs courts. If you are sitting on the sideline and have a match going out within the next few minutes, you may dibs a certain court and no one can use it, even if they get there first. Dibsing is like sending an imaginary you to the court.

I especially like the last item.  Who would have thought that I would find specific Dibs references pertaining to both tennis and Chicago – so we must take this stuff seriously.

Then there’s the interesting “Midwest Style” – In the midwest, dibs has many variations. First of all there is normal “dibs”. For example, calling dibs on an object entitles the person all rights and privileges that object might bring. However, if a friend or colleague of the person who initially called dibs would like to claim a stake in the object, the person can call “sub-dibs”. “Sub-dibs” allows the person all privileges and rights of the object to the person if the person who originally called “dibs” were not able to carry out their “dibs”. Also, another person has the option of asking the original “dibs” person for “co-dibs”. If the original “dibs” person allows the “co-dibs” call, then both people have the same rights and privileges to the object.  I don’t recall any official calling of “sub-dibs”!

Interestingly, there must be a lot of dibs controversies these days – there is even a website for people to officially register their dibs (I wonder if it’s as complicated as the US Patent and Trademark website?).

So let’s take this dibs thing seriously – it can be a matter of life and death.  (See cartoon above for “proof”!)

Have a Smashing weekend!

Copyright 2010 Smashing, Copyright 2010

7 Comments leave one →
  1. tenniswall permalink
    April 9, 2010 7:20 am

    Who got Buzzkill all riled up before the budget meeting?!?!

    ps. Marketing department calls DIBS on all profits of smashing

  2. tennisdress permalink
    April 9, 2010 8:15 am

    You forgot one thing, when a dibs is followed by a “lol”, it cannot be taken seriously. Also, there should be an equation to figure out the percentage of dib calling to the number of blogs in one month. For example, you get 4 blogs, we get 8 per month. So, how about every fourth dib can be vetoed by a vote of 2:1?

    • April 9, 2010 8:27 am

      In this case, lol signifies “legally official language”, to imply an extra-official dibs! Oh, and a dibs can never be vetoed – goes against the whole spirit of dibs!

  3. tenniswall permalink
    April 9, 2010 11:31 am

    we in the marketing dept don’t understand all this “mumbo jumbo.” just let me know when you can cut us a check

  4. April 21, 2010 9:24 am

    Hi, Ladies. Enjoyed your blog. If you need help navigating the Copyright Office or USPTO (as opposed to the USTA), that’s what I do.

    • April 22, 2010 10:17 am

      Thanks Jeff….Lee is an IP guy too – he just makes me do all of the research & legwork and then swoops in to do the last 5%. But if I decide to fire him, I’ll let you know! Thanks for reading our blog.

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