Thursday, February 17, 2005

TODAY IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE LETTER "H"

Or, "h"owdy -- "h"ow the "h"eck are you?

By Dr. Ovid Publius Hadweenzic, a sexegarian scholar and graduate of the University of Gleed (in the Village of Thribble) with a degree in Agathokakological Studies (The Ancient Art of Mingling Good and Evil) followed by painstaking exhaustive research on flypaper, flying saucers and flying starts.


"H" is the eighth letter in the English alphabet -- a bit like the "8th Wonder of the World", wouldn't you say?


All manner of things begin with "H", but here are some of my favorites.

HUMPTY DUMPTY

According to Webster's Dictionary, Humpty Dumpty is "an egg-shaped nursery-rhyme character who fell from a wall and broke into bits". Unfortunately, all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again...that is until they invented Crazy Glue.

Humpty Dumpty is certainly a sign of our times. Quite frankly, it's probably cheaper to toss Humpty Dumpty into the trashcan than spend time trying to repair him (unless the fix-up involves a cutting-edge, short-term solution to everything -- liquid band-aids).

HUGGER-MUGGER

Now there's a piece of puffery if ever there was one! What do you mean you've never heard of it?

Hugger-Mugger has been around for the past 500 years, (give or take 200 depending on whether it's been used as a noun, an adjective, or a verb).

Now don't tell me you've forgotten your English grammar already. Alright, here are a couple of quick hints or clues to jog your memory:

  • NOUN (anything that fits into a box called a person, place or thing)
  • ADJECTIVE (the thing that describes the blessed person, place or thing)
  • VERB (what you do to the bleeping person, place or thing).

Anyway, where was I...oh yes, hugger-mugger. Well this little gem means "a confused or disorderly nature", (as in "it's a bloody mess" or "it's a frightfully jumbled nightmare if you really want to know!" Hugger-Mugger also means "to keep secret", (as in mum's the word, dont' let the cat out of the bag, or keep it under your hat).

(NOTE: This Hugger-Mugger business could pose a problem - especially if the SPCA found out that you were stuffing trolls along with cats into your duffle bag. And, as fate would have it, very few people these days wear hats -- unless you count winter tuques and turbans as haberdashery. More importantly, what's a young lass supposed to do when they don't even make hats let alone hat pins any more? Don't even bother asking me what's a hat-pin? Trust me, you don't want to know ...although it might come in handy if balloon-pricking is your avocation.)

Scientists offer several reasons why we haven't heard of "hugger-muggers". If I recall, it has something to do with far too many Full Moons all happening at once, the fact that the Sun and Mercury are meeting unpredictable, wild and wackly Uranus in Pisces to see how earthlings cope with small appliance breakdowns, computer crashes and the sudden arrival of guests on one's doorstep, and a prevailing fear of dictionaries among celebrities, sports stars, and engineers.

A further explanation suggests that our modern society does little to extend a warm welcome to non-linear events nor to reward states of mind having anything in common with the following:

-- all hell breaking loose, much ado about nothing or something,
-- agitation, anarchy, abashment, astonishment, backlash,
-- bafflement, befuddlement, bewilderment, blurr, botch,
-- bottleneck, break, breakdown, bull in a china shop, bungle,
-- calamity, cessation, chaos, clog, clutter, commotion,
-- complexity, -- complication, confoundment, congestion,
-- consternation, convulsion, derangement, disarrangement,
-- discomfiture, discomposure, disharmony, dismay, disorder,
-- disarray, distraction, disturbance, emotional upset,
-- entanglement, farrago, fix, fog, fracas, going nowhere fast,
-- ferment, going round and round in little circles, Gordian knot,
-- haze, hodgepodge, hubbub, hump, hurly-burly, hysteria,
-- imbroglio, interference, intricacy, irregularity, jam, jumble,
-- jungle, knot, labyrinth, lump, mass, maze, melee, mess,
-- miscalculation, misconception, mismanagement, mistake,
-- mix-up, muss, mystification, nervousness, obstruction,
-- pandemonium, perplexity, perturbation, pretty mess,
-- pretty pickle, puzzle, quandary, riot, row, rumpus, screw-up,
-- shut-down, SNAFU, snag, snarl, stew, stir, stoppage,
-- stupefication, surprise, tangled web, to-do, trauma, trouble,
-- turmoil, uncertainty, or wilderness.

(NOTE: Now whatever you do, watch out for anyone up a creek without a paddle. It could be a reality-TV "survivor" show or "idol" talent night. And they're only interested to know if you can applaud their every move! (Speaking of adventure, why not try using your all-in-one remote control device and watch a more positive, life-affirming TV program like "Touched by An Angel".)

If you can't find bliss with the help of an angel or a guru, the next best thing is little blue pills. In fact, there's a rather large and profitable industry devoted to banishing the blessed "hugger-muggers" from your brain (for a hefty fee of course). And frankly, who wouldn't want to pop a few placid pills or love potions just to escape from the long list of wicked words mentioned above.

Who knows, maybe those little pills will help you find the off-ramp from "Yellow-Brick Road" or at the very least, your weary way back to Kansas ...along with Dorothy in a pair of sparkly red shoes and her wretched yapping dog named "Toto", not to mention a scruffy scarecrow, a taciturn tin-man and a lily-livered lion if you please.

So, all in all "hugger muggers" are to put it bluntly, something you should avoid at all costs, if you value your pretty pinhead or your loopy life in La-La-Land.

HUH

This is a popular interjection in the English language. Actually it's more like a throaty, nasal word, (akin to a grunting sound).This three-lettered word appeared on the scene in 1732 -- and don't ask me why. Something really mind-boggling must have happened to give birth to it.

Huh is used typically to express surpise, disbelief, or disgust when casually asked by a sees-all-knows-all-sort-of-person, "I wonder if you can you tell me the price of tea in China today?"

Needless to say, Humpty Dumpty, Hugger-Mugger, and Huh have a good deal in common -- like wunderkins gone wonky, strange things that go bump in the night, or just plain weird stuff.

So, without further adieu, I bid a fond farewell to all you Humpty Dumpties, Hugger-Muggers, and Huh-ers! --

"May the Funny Force Be With You -- Sometimes or Always, As the Case May Be!"

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