06 July 2007

Random thoughts about "Cocks"

I play a lot of badminton. So does my wife. In fact, she just got back from a week-long badminton training camp, so you can imagine that we're pretty serious about it. (Note: She's more serious than I am, so she went and I just enjoyed my week of bachelordom, ie. lounging around in my underwear eating frozen pizza and not doing the dishes.)

In badminton, the little doohickey you smack around is typically called the 'bird' or 'birdie'; however, its technical name is the 'shuttlecock'. I've got an extended family member who is an elementary school teacher and was one day teaching her class to play badminton. In order to play, however, she was forcing them to exhibit enough maturity to say the word 'shuttlecock' without giggling too much first. Of course, the trouble component of the word is the 'cock' part, with all its sexual connotations. I appreciate the teacher's sentiment, but, from experience, I don't think this is a problem: In real life, no one ever says 'shuttlecock'. I'm not just talking about recreational players who typically call it a 'birdie' either. Serious competitive players call it at least a 'bird' (minus the 'ie' on the end) or, when they are feeling official, a 'shuttle'. It's exceedingly rare than someone will call it a 'shuttlecock' - it's just too long of a word.

However, all this got me to thinking, if brevity is the goal, then 'shuttlecock' should be abbreviated to just 'cock'. Try it right now and compare it to saying 'bird'. 'Bird' is noticeably more energy-intensive to say. 'Cock' is much easier.

So can you imagine this in practice?

"Your cock is all beat up there. It probably won't work anymore."
"It's fun playing with a brand new cock. It flies straighter."
"You've got to hit the cock harder."
"Keep your eye on the cock."
"Try to put the cock between the two opponents so they can't tell who's supposed to get it."
"If he puts the cock deep, you have to turn around and reach to get it."
"When you're up at the net, keep your racquet up so the cock doesn't hit you in the face."

Afterall, the meaning of the 'cock' part of the word 'shuttlecock' is, in this case, exactly the same as 'bird'; it refers to the fact that the damn thing is made of feathers and looks like a bird. So why the hell shouldn't we use 'cocks'?

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7 Comments:

At July 06, 2007 1:55 p.m., Anonymous John P said...

I don't know why, but it reminds me a an old Irish joke. Since I now have to get it out of my system....

John O"Reilly hoisted his beer and said, "Here's to spending the rest of me life, between the legs of me wife!"

That won him the top prize at the pub for the best toast of the night! He went home and told his wife, Mary, "I won the prize for the best toast of the night!" She said, "Aye, did ye now. And what was your toast? John said, "Here's to spending the rest of me life, sitting in church beside me wife."

"Oh, that's very nice indeed, John!", Mary said.

The next day Mary ran into one of John's drinking buddies on the street corner. The man chuckled leeringly and said, "John won the prize the other night at the pub with a toast about you, Mary." She said, "Aye, he told me, and I was a bit surprised meself.

You know, he's only been there twice in the last four years. Once he fell asleep, and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to make him come."

 
At July 06, 2007 2:18 p.m., Blogger Berlzebub said...

When I took French in high school, our teacher told us that Mon dieu meant My God, but that we would say it meant My gosh.

I had to laugh about it, and pointed out that dieu means God, not gosh, regardless of what she wishes it to mean. Since it was in our textbook as God, and since she told us it meant God, saying it meant gosh didn't matter.

Of course, in the ensuing debate, I refrained from saying something like, "Well, considering how you like to keep interpreting the Bible to say what you want it to, this shouldn't surprise me." Man, I had much more restraint when I was fourteen.

Oh, and you should have heard her go balistic when one of my classmates exclaimed "Crap!"

 
At July 11, 2007 2:55 a.m., Blogger Necator said...

Shuttlecock indeed.

My better half is on a regimen of drugs right now for a severe fracture that includes an anti-inflammatory called Mobicox.

Between the morphine and the exhaustion, she recently referred to it as limpicock to one of her nurses.

I hope this wasn't a reference to me.

 
At July 13, 2007 5:24 p.m., Anonymous mel said...

"lounging around in my underwear eating frozen pizza and not doing the dishes"

I'm bach'ing it right now too and this sounds very familiar ... 'cept I'm eating PBJs and ramen noodles. Life's good.

Your cock point is well taken and it occured to me that my kids will readily throw the word 'peacock' around as we follow one around the zoo and I don't think this work gets much thought from school kids ... certainly not the level you describe for shuttlecock. I mean, I don't even remember the last time I thought twice about this really funny word: peacock.

What's up with that?

 
At July 13, 2007 11:18 p.m., Blogger Carlo said...

Wow... it's been a really long time since I played the ol' badminton. We just called it the 'birdie'... and that sent us into a fit of laughter anyways. That and farts. Despite our pretensions of haughty-taughty-ness, farts just never get old.

 
At July 26, 2007 9:11 a.m., Anonymous JanieBelle said...

Y'know just last night Kate and I were sorely disappointed when we went outside to play and couldn't find a cock to play with.

Kisses

 
At August 07, 2007 10:08 a.m., Blogger tina said...

I love "cocks"

 

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