Monday, February 23, 2015

Long Winter Showers

Twenty Minutes in the Shower with a Migraine

and my mind turns to 'serpentine.'
That is to say that I begin mulling
over the origins and uses of the word
rather than my brain becoming snakelike.
But my mind has been rather serpentine
now that I think of it, weaving through
the crabgrass of my subconscious,
darting from birth dates to the circumstances
of my latest speeding ticket to recipes
I've dog-eared that I would love my
fiancée to experiment with.

But what
I'm really interested in is why the makers
of language, whoever they may be—
I imagine spectacled cavemen pointing
at daisies and mimicking thrushes
while bigger caveman do useful
things like spear deer or crush gravel—
decided we needed a word for something
that resembles a snake in physical
attribute or cunning. Why not another

I believe us as humans kill
many more things before it has spent
its usefulness than there are windy,
twisty things; we abandon dreams
and responsibilities at the first sign
of a flaw with the same destructive
impulsivity as firing buckshot into
something that broke its leg. So it stands
to reason that they should have come up
with a word to describe something that
resembles a horse long ago. That music
career of yours sure was horselike.
One bad gig in Houston and you
sent it to the farm. Sure there is 'squirrely'
and 'ducky' and 'mousey' but the simply
addition of the letter 'y' to the animal
name displays an inherent laziness
that, I believe, retracts from the
word's effectiveness.

The problem
with the word 'jackass' isn't that
it's the wrong animal to describe
someone that lacks intelligence. It's
the insistence on the name-caller's
part that this person is a jackass.
The metaphorical use of the animal
is so easily refuted that the intended
effect oftentimes rolls off the person's
back, so to speak. Well, I do not have hoofs
and I am not carrying large bales
of hay and water over my back,
therefore I must not be stupid or stubborn.
But an adjective like 'jackassentine'
would surely do the trick. I'm not
saying that you are a jackass, just
that you resemble the animal
in demeanor and idiocy.

by David Walker
in Volume 3 Issue 2
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