Today, we look at my Scottish heritage from the outside. The Word Of the Week is
Doodlesack, a respelling of German Dudelsack “bagpipe,” literally “bagpipe sack,” is a rare word in English. The German word is, or seems to be, a derivative of dudeln “to tootle” (unless the verb is a derivative of the noun). Even in German Dudelsack appears not to be a native word but is likely to be a borrowing from a Slavic language, e.g., Polish and Czech dudy “bagpipe.” Doodlesack entered English in the mid-19th century.
I can’t blow my brains out. I may huff and puff on my blog site, but the last time I could extinguish all the candles on my birthday cake, I was about 9 years old. I love the soul-stirring skirl of the pipes, but I couldn’t inflate a set of bagpipes. Even just picking one up is like wrestling a spastic squid.
Bagpipe music is not for everyone. Like kimchi, it’s an acquired taste that not all people acquire. At a cultural festival in the park, when a piper stopped playing, a little old lady approached him and said, “If you stop squeezing that cat so hard, it will stop screeching.”
Click here if you’d like to see and hear AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ played on a set of flame throwing bagpipes. A British couple got, what they thought were, really cheap tickets to a Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert. They flew to Dublin to see a show by “The Red Hot Chilli Pipers“, a cover band that does all the Pepper tunes on bagpipes.
I read a Scottish adventure/mystery story one time, where the hero was a piper. He was practicing, standing on a rocky crag above a deep, fast, mountain river, when a sniper shot at him. He tumbled into the raging waters and, although the shooter watched for a long, long time, he never surfaced…. until the next chapter. Scottish pipers have lungs as big as their bagpipes. He held his breath for almost 4 minutes.
My hometown had a well-established, and forgiving, Scottish Presbyterian Church. Shortly after World War II, a series of Scottish preachers immigrated to Canada. Each would be placed in our town for a few years, until he’d learned the social ways and lost most of his Scottish burr, and then another would come out to replace him.
The Presbyterian Manse was directly across the street from my house. As a small boy, three ministers in a row brought their bagpipes with them. On the upper floor, there was a double-wide, 40-foot-long hallway, with 10 foot ceilings. When they had successfully composed the week’s sermon, each would celebrate by striding the hall while playing the bagpipes.
As soon as I would hear the first skirl, I would rush over, (I was allowed to) let myself in, and sit, out of the way, in absolute awe at the close-up sound of the pipes. Sadly now, the only time I seem to hear bagpipes, is at a funeral, if someone important dies. ‘Amazing Grace’ is a lovely song, but I pine for ‘Scotland the Bra’e.’
Doodlesack indeed!!? Making fun of my cultural music and instrument??! That’s as bad as me making fun of rap music….no, wait, that’s justified. Rap – so that Negroes with otherwise absolutely no talent, can make outrageous amounts of money.
Stop back again in a couple of days, when my rants aren’t quite so outrageous.