Friday, 12 December 2014
Word to the Wise
Neglected gems of the language for taking down the pub and introducing to your mates. With a True Tale by way of illustration.
In-uh-luhk-tuh-buhl: Adjective: incapable of being evaded; inescapable; not to be resisted.
From the Latin: ineluctabilis, from in-, “not,” plus eluctari, to force a way out of or over, surmount, from ex-, out of, plus luctari, to wrestle or struggle, plus -bilis, as in able, ability.
Related forms: ineluctability, noun; ineluctably, adverb. Sadly, there is no positive version (ie eluctable).
Dogs are great, aren’t they? The thing about dogs is (unlike some people we could mention): they don’t make judgements, they love you no matter what you’ve done and they are always genuinely glad to see you, without ever asking much in return. (And they certainly won’t keep bringing it up time after time after time if you do happen to make the very simple and entirely understandable mistake of forgetting her birthday that once.) Anyhow, this week’s True Tale, as you’ve probably surmised, is on dogs. Or, more accurately, one dog in particular.
Meandering about locally one day, one could not help but notice when all at once a blurred streak of fur went shooting past, hotly pursued by the unmistakeable form of a demonic Tucker, who had, it would seem, persuaded yet another reluctant and hapless feline into indulging in a game of chase with him. The only escape for the imperilled moggie was to ascend the sheer face of the wall of a terraced house to the sanctuary at the top of a bay window, a gravity-defying feat achieved with some alacrity, as it happened. His work done, Tucker wandered off one way whilst we mooched away in another, the incident entirely forgotten by both. Just as a wall situated to perfection in the sunshine presented itself as the ideal spot to tarry a while and smoke, there came a hallooing from the distance:
‘Oi! You!’ called the voice.
It’s a sure sign, should you ever hear those particular words, that any premeditated relaxation is about to be curtailed. Which it was. Striding inexorably wallwards was what can only be described as a neanderthal thug. Not only that, but he also happened to be brandishing a large screwdriver in his not unsubstantial fist and looking rather put out about something or other.
‘My mother’s had that cat for eighteen years,’ he announced, rather brusquely, as he closed in.
‘It can’t half shift for an old ‘un, then,’ was the response that leapt to mind but, what with his weaponry and the scowling, it was considered better left unsaid.
‘I don’t want my mother being upset like that again,’ his harangue then continued, apostrophising every third word with a menacing flourish of the screwdriver. ‘If you let your dog chase that cat one more time, I’m going to have you. Do you understand? Well? Do you?’
‘But it’s not my dog.’
Wholly unmoved by this justified oratory, he then reiterated that the cat was eighteen years old and how, should anything untoward happen to said decrepit beast, some violent form of retribution would be instantaneously extracted.
‘So you keep that dog of yours under control in future. Or else.’
Once more, with the Biblical cock readying himself for crowing, came the denial. Which was true. If only he would stop waving that screwdriver around. That is not my dog.
That, of course, was when Tucker reappeared and came swaggering up, looking for a familiar face to lick …
Guy Fawkes Taken: Henry Perronet Briggs [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Churchill: By British Government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Scrooge Visited: By Soerfm (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Harry Houdini: By McManus-Young Collection (Library of Congress) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Head louse: By Gilles San Martin [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Robert Braithwaite: Photo by M.M. Mason
Christ Betrayed: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/63/Carl_Bloch_001.jpg