The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

COLLECTIVE NOUNS: I have been thinking about collective nouns these past few weeks, mostly on the advice of my doctor, who says that collective nouns are less stressful than fish puns and can clear up persistent acne in laboratory rats. I don’t have a laboratory rat of my own, let alone one in its teenage years, and so I am spared having to listen to it whine about its face breaking out and not getting a date with Cindy from the varsity cheerleading squad. But enough of this adolescent bickering; let us return to the collective noun. And I do not mean the collective nouns that we are all familiar with, like a school of fish or a pack of cigarettes, but the odd ones like a murder of crows or a scurry of squirrels or a warren of wombats. My favorite, though, is a rumba of rattlesnakes, which seems to be just the sort of thing any suburban housewife would want in order to liven up a dull party. To make the party especially lively our housewife could also invite a plena of pythons, a bomba of boomslangs, and a mambo of mambas. One might not get away from such a party without requiring medical attention, but my guess is that our theoretical housewife has no problems with rats, laboratory or otherwise.



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