14 Jan 2006
I enjoy puns, and wordplay, possibly to a fault. If I remember, I’ll post some shaggy dogs at some point.
I read somewhere earlier today about someone sidling up to a bar, and that made me think about the word sidle. It’s one of those words I only know from context, and that context is alwasy sidling up to a bar. I inferred that the definition was just “to approach”, but I looked it up today to learn that it means to approach or move sideways (or furtively).
That, in turn, made me think of words that I (and others) have learned either just by context, or in some other way don’t know the full definition. For example, yesterday, I’ve have thought nothing of saying that I sidled up to an empty bar. Now, that sounds a little silly. I made a similar foot-in-mouth error when I talked about the duffers at Kesmai to a visiting VIP thinking I was talking about golfers.
I find those sorts of language-overreaching mistakes embarrassing to make, and embarrassing to catch in conversation, but I was thinking it might be fun to write a little prose that made extensive use of not-quite-right English. In the meanwhile, enjoy one of my favorite childhood rhymes:
One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys* got up to fight, [*or men]
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,
One was blind and the other couldn’t, see
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man went to see fair play,
A dumb man went to shout “hooray!”
A paralysed donkey passing by,
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to arrest the two dead boys,
If you don’t believe this lie is true,
Ask the blind man he saw it too!