I celebrated my 67th birthday recently. By the age of 67 my vocabulary should be just about complete: now that I’ve reached the age of forgetting, I’m not likely to remember new words.
But my eldest grandson believes otherwise. His present to me was a list of words that Shakespeare coined. He thought I’d appreciate them. He tells me they are swear words.
I drove that 10-year old and his seven-year old twin brothers to school today. In a chorus of loving name calling that began with the familiar “Captain Big Nose” they quickly turned literary.
“You Huge Hill of Flesh!” was something to contemplate.
“You Huge Bombard of Sack!” had me looking down to my lap.
“You Swollen Parcel of Dropsies!” was pleasingly clinical and accurate. My calcium channel blocker does in fact cause me some fluid retention.
“You Prince of Wales!” puzzled me. Surely no insult, unless we are supposed to hear Prince of Whales – the prince being the Sperm Whale – and the ejaculation some sort of perverse tribute. As I frowned in contemplation of the words of the Bard, the three kids were helpless with hilarity. This epithet somehow became me. The more they chanted “Prince of Wales” the funnier it became and the more we all four enjoyed it.
Eventually the ten-year old Shakespeare scholar moved on to “You Bull’s Pizzle!” He realized from my facial expression that this was a winner. Once they learned that the pizzle was the phallus of a farmyard animal (famous as the projectile with which Jude woos Arabella in the Hardy novel) they wouldn’t let it go.
I was a Bull’s Pizzle all the way to school.
As they dismounted from the car in high good spirits, they added “You Foot-Licker!”
I farewelled each with a kiss and “You Vile Standing Tuck!” – the last word from Captain Big Nose.