WOW #75

Yankee Doodle went to town
Riding on a pony.
Stuck a feather in his hat,
And called it Macaroni

MACARONI

How did he get to be a Yankee??  And what did it have to do with macaroni??!

Yanke Surname Definition: (Dutch) Descendant of little Jan (gracious gift of Jehovah); one who came from Holland; a name sometimes applied to a stranger.

The Online Etymology Dictionary gives Yankee its origin as around 1683, attributing it to English colonists insultingly referring to Dutch colonists (especially freebooters). Linguist Jan de Vries notes that there was mention of a pirate named Dutch Yanky in the 17th century.

From the mid-1750s – even still today – it was the custom of the upper British crust to ‘Do The Continent’ when they came of age.  Starting in Spain or France, they would party their way though Germany and Poland, and end up in Italy.  Italy was considered the epicenter of society and fashion.

Young English men became enamored of anything Italian – better than what was back in frumpy old Britain.  Costume balls were common, and clothing became more and more gaudy and ostentatious.  Of course, “everything Italian” did not usually extend to actually learning the language.

After they returned home, they would wax eloquent about Italian food and wine, the flamboyant clothing, the buildings, and the parties.  It became common to refer to “everything Italian” in verbal shorthand as simply Macaroni.

Some English in the New World (Remember, there were no ‘Americans’ yet) with less wealth and far less chance to party in Italy – were Yankees.  If they had servants and slaves, and were ‘idle,’ – they were a Doodle.  They displayed their wealth by being able to ride a fine horse – pony.  If they wanted to emulate their British cousins, they would adorn and ornament their clothes.  They would stick a jaunty feather in an otherwise simple, basic hat, and pretend that it was as glitzy as any of that Italian Macaroni.

So, this nonsense little poem has nothing to do with college survival food.  Instead, it is a reminder of how the early American common folk viewed those who claimed to be their betters.  I’d better make some mac-and-cheese for lunch.   😉   😆

A Comedy Of Errors

A man hired by a construction company, was asked to fill out the details of an accident that put him in the hospital, after less than an hour on the job.  His task was simply to carry an excess of bricks from the top of a two-storey house, down to the ground.  This is his meticulous report

“Thinking that I could save time, I rigged a beam with a pulley to the top of the house, with a rope leading to the ground.  I tied an empty barrel on one end of the rope, pulled it to the top of the house, and then fastened the other end of the rope to a tree.

Going up to the top of the house, I filled the barrel with bricks.  Then I went back down, and unfastened the rope to let the barrel down.  Unfortunately, the barrel of bricks was now heavier than I, and before I knew what was happening, the barrel jerked me up in the air.

I hung onto the rope, and, halfway up, I met the barrel coming down, receiving a sharp blow to my left shoulder. I then continued on up to the top. Banging my head on the beam and jamming my fingers in the pulley.

When the barrel hit the ground, the bottom burst, spilling all the bricks.  As I was now heavier than the barrel, I started down at high speed.  Halfway down, I met the empty barrel, coming up, receiving severe lacerations to my shins.

When I hit the ground, I landed on the bricks, receiving several cuts and contusions from the sharp edges of the bricks.  At this point I must have become confused, because I let go of the rope.  The barrel came down, striking me on the head, and I woke up in the hospital.

I respectfully request sick leave.”

Dancing In The Dark

A couple were invited to a real swanky Halloween party, so the wife went out and bought costumes for them.  On the night of the party, she developed a terrific headache, and told her husband to go on without her.  He protested, but she said all she was going to do was take a couple of aspirins and go to bed, and that there was no need of his good time being wasted, by not attending.  So he got into his costume, and off he went.

The wife, after sleeping soundly for an hour, woke without a trace of pain, and a little after nine, she decided to go to the party.  Since her husband didn’t know what costume she was wearing, she thought it might be fun to slip into the party, and see how he acted when she wasn’t around.

As soon as she got to the party, the first person she saw was her husband, cavorting around the dance floor, dancing with all the chicks and copping a little feel here and there.  So the wife sidled up to him and, being a rather sexy-looking thing herself, he quickly left his partner to devote his attention to the new stuff that had just joined the party.  She let him go as far as he wanted, (naturally) and finally he whispered a proposition in her ear.  This she agreed to, and they went out to one of the parked cars nearby, etc., etc., etc.

Just before unmasking at midnight, she slipped away, went home, and went to bed, wondering what her husband would say about the party when he came home.

He arrived home about 1:30, and came straight to the bedroom to ask her how she was.  She was sitting up in bed, reading, and asked how he enjoyed the party.  He said, “Oh, the same old thing.  You know I never have a good time when you’re not there.”  Then she asked if he had danced much.  He said, “Well, I’ll tell you, I never even danced one dance.  When I got there, Peter Jones, Bill Brown, and a couple of the guys were stag, too, so we just sat in the den and played poker all night.  But I’ll tell you one thing, the fellow I loaned my costume to sure had one hell of a good time!”