Monday, April 11, 2005

I Can Do Teacher Stories, Too

Josh writes:

It's a well-observed fact of all languages that if a word has a number of different meanings and one of them is taboo in some way, it's the taboo meaning that ends up being the only one that people actually use. "Gay" is the most obvious example in contemporary English, but there are plenty of others: "prophylactic" is a general term for any sort of preventative; "sphincter" describes any of the many ring-shaped muscles found in most animals; and an "ejaculation" is simply any sort of explosive projection. But, since there's a specific meaning to each of them that is in some way naughty, that's the one that trumps all others. The moral of the story is: you're all dirty, dirty bastards.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, my lady companion is, like Apathy Jack, a high school English teacher. Like many schools, theirs is divided up into four "houses", which compete against each other on sports days and the like. A little while ago, her house came into possession of a disturbingly realistic fake rooster, which was named Cyril and became their de facto mascot. Much fun was had in hiding Cyril around the school for others to find, marred slightly by the fact that it turns out the principal has a bird phobia, and didn't take well to it showing up in her In tray... This same principal was responsible for the recent disappearance of said mascot, in light-hearted retaliation for some other incident of staff room japery that I'm not entirely clear on.

Girlfriend's reaction was to go home and knock up a bunch of "Missing" posters to distribute around the school. Posters with headings like "Missing: One Rooster", "Rooster Kidnapped; Police Baffled", and "Come Back Cyril, All is Forgiven". And, because English teachers are only human: "Have You Seen My Cock?"

You're laughing, aren't you? Dirty, dirty bastards.


BerlinBear said...

While it provided an interesting link-in to your funny sorty about the cock, which I enjoyed, your assertion that it's a well known fact that all polysemous words have a sense that is taboo is, unfortunately, complete nonsense. For every example you raise, I could name ten words in English that have no such taboo meaning. And that's just English, to say nothing of "all languages".

HORansome said...

What you fail to appreciate, BerlinBear, is that Josh's post exists in the world known as Comedy, and wild and blind assertions are not just true there, they are necessarily true.

Josh said...

Read it again - I said that if a ploysemous word has a taboo meaning, then the taboo meaning trumps all others.

Lady Companion said...

I have to say that the missing rooster had the positive spin off of people frequently asking "Have you found your cock?", leading to all manner of amusement in the staff room.