[lit-ideas] Sunday Something

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 13:33:03 -0800

There's probably a dictionary term for those of us who find interesting the 
weirdness of humans, particularly in re. naming patterns.  Something with 
"philo" in it.  "Weirdo" could be there too.  One of the disappointments 
associated with dropping my subscription to what is left of our local newspaper 
and subsequently switching allegiance to the "New York Times" is that I no 
longer get to read of families who named their kids after brands of sewing 
machine.  There are no loving tributes in the obits to Gupta and Beryl and 
their volunteer work with arachnid rescue.  But there are moments...  in an 
article about events in Yemen those interviewed seem to have been invented by 
thriller writer Jack Higgins: "Charles Schmitz, professor at Towson University" 
and "April Alley, a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group."  Under 
the headline, "Prepping for 2016, a Gathering of Republicans in Iowa Leans Hard 
to the Right," we learn that Senator Jeff Flake was not invited.  But the obits 
offer little: Bae Poo Lu Chow was known to her family at Ah Boo.  William G. 
had an "insatiable work ethic" and yet, "if ever textbooks are written on how 
to be the consummate husband, dad or grandfather, the writers need look no 
further for the perfect case study."  And H.B. Fink begat M.,C., L., L. and B. 
Fink, who gave him ten grandchildren.  The second "L" is Lewtan Fink.

This week talk among the chickens was about whether their new sport needs 
rules.  I told them about the Shetland game of Ba', which has very few, and the 
controversy about how the sport of rugby came to be.  The rugby story I grew up 
with said that William Webb Ellis, playing some early version of soccer on a 
field at Rugby school, impetuously picked up the ball and ran with it.  The 
chickens doubted this immediately.
"Very hard to run with a ball in your mouth."
I said that the dog manages the trick just fine.
"You have a point," Peccorino conceded.
Cheddar said, "We could try a very small ball."
Rocky stated the obvious, "What would prevent someone from swallowing it?"
I suggested, "you might want to make that against the rules."
Appenzeller wanted me to finish the rugby story.  "What's the alternative 
"Well," I said, "it involves shin kicking."
"Oooooooh, don't think we'd like that."
"No, no."
"Too much like cocks fighting."
"Not lady-like."
"No, no.  Right out, that."
They were disturbed and showed it by walking around in a seemingly random 
manner.  Then followed  compensatory feather-preening.  It was a while before 
they settled.
"Shin kicking, or as it was then known 'hacking' was the subject of a debate 
early in the game of football."
Rocky wanted to know what I meant by "early."  "Would that be before dawn?"
"No," I said, "in the eighteen hundreds."
"That's quite long ago, that is," said Mimo... as if she knew.
"The original rules of Rugby Union--which is a kind of Rugby--had allowed 
hacking," I explained, "but some people thought it was too violent.  You'll 
remember, of course, that shin kicking is itself a form of sport in Yorkshire, 
with its own set of rules?  There's a novel about it by Martin Cruz Smith."
Appenzeller chided, "You're losing me.  What's a Yorkshire?"
For whatever reason, I decided I wasn't feeling helpful, so I said it was a 
kind of terrier.
"We're against terriers."
"And terrierism."
Peccorino called the meeting to order and asked those present to vote.  The 
decision was unanimous.  The new sport will have rules and the date for the 
first big match has been set. Next Sunday.
"But," said Cheddar, "how can we have two sides when there are five of us?"
Peccorino said they could play "doubles."  "Three on one side, two on the 
I think she stole that line from Monty Python.

David Ritchie,
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