Tag Archives: wordplay

History of the Word part 457

Pussy (n) – A person (especially male) who is lacking in confidence or bravery.

Synonyms: Wimp, chicken, pansy, milquetoast.

Rob won’t knock over the liquor store with us. He’s such a pussy.

At first glance, one might think that this is related to the similar (in fact, identical) slang word for a woman’s genitalia. In fact, this word goes back much further. In the 1800s it was common to compare a man lacking in courage to a pussy cat, as seen in a letter from 1876: “Rob refused to help us rob the liquor store. Sometimes I’m sure he is actually a pussy cat.” Over time, the “cat” part was dropped.

It is possible that this term is even older, however. A recently discovered fragment from an unfinished shakespearean play contains the line “Wherefore will Robert not assist us in our illegal acquisition of the King’s prized spirits? Forsooth, he behaves in the manner of the cowardly pussy cat.”

However, scholars are uncertain if this was a common term at the time, or something which Shakespeare had come up with on his own.

Scholars are also uncertain if any of the information in this article is true at all.

Tales from an Amsterdam Coffeeshop

This happened a few years back. I was flying back to the states and my plane had a layover in Amsterdam. It was supposed to last only a few minutes, but unfortunately due to laws that had just passed earlier that week after the Netherlands’ government caved into the demands of the terrorist group “Mothers Against Drunk Flying,” our pilot wasn’t allowed to take off until the next day.

I had never been to Amsterdam, but I’d heard good things about their coffeeshops. Being somewhat of a connoisseur of the bean, I decided to see what they had. The experience was totally miserable. First of all, the place was full of smoke! It was a nice day outside and there were windows, but apparently the shop insisted on keeping them closed. Next, the man at the counter tried to tell me they didn’t serve coffee! When I sarcastically asked what they did serve, he asked me if I wanna marry him, which was just plain bizarre. Finally I got fed up and just ordered a pastry.

I don’t really remember what happened after that.

The Case of the Totally Unnecessary and Gratuitous “Dick” Puns

I’m a dick. A private dick. The best damn dick in this whole town, if I do say so myself. I’m the one who put Vito Romana behind bars. Didn’t make many friends by doing that, neither. But a man’s gotta do what he’s good at. And I’m so good, people even call me Dick, though that’s probably because my name’s Richard. It might also be because when I’m on the case I can be a real…well…you get the picture. I tell ya what, the jokers never stop laughing.

One Thursday morning this dame walked into my office with legs that went all the way up and a dress that didn’t quite go all the way down. I could tell right away she was trouble. Dames like that always are.

“I’m looking for a dick,” she said, the words floating on her sweet breath like the bloated, week-old bodies of mob victims bobbing to the surface of the river.

“I can see that,” I said. I glanced out the window. The rain-slicked street outside was bustling, as usual. Not even rain can stop a city. It just keeps on going, like a train bearing down on the broad strapped to the tracks.

“Is that some kind of joke?” she asked, raising an eyebrow — an eyebrow as perfectly sculpted as the Venus de Milo. It was the kind of eyebrow you only see in the movies, and not even then.

“Well sweetheart,” I said, lighting a cigarette, “maybe I’m jumping the gun, but since my door says ‘Private Detective’ and you came in, I guessed you ain’t lookin’ for a massage therapist. Simple detective work.” I smiled and exhaled a lungful of smoke, the taste of ashes in my mouth.

“Enough dicking around,” she said (I grimaced), “My husband’s been murdered.”

That got my attention — but I was cautious. Half the time some dame came in with a murdered husband, she was the one who did it and was just trying to divert attention. And she wouldn’t think twice about offing you, too, if you got too close to the truth.

“Sounds serious,” I agreed, “How’d it happen?”

“Poison,” she said, one perfect tear — too perfect if you ask me — dripping and falling to the floor impossibly slowly, only to shatter like a window shatters when it’s blasted with a tommy gun.

“Go on,” I told her.

She took a deep breath. Deep like the ocean, seemed to me. Deeper than a woman’s heart, for sure. “It had to be poison,” she said, “One minute he was eating his favorite dessert, spotted dick…”

It was gonna be one of those days.

How Terminator: Salvation Should Have Been

(Author’s Note: I have to give credit to my friend Emmett for this too, because this is based on a conversation we had.)

Terminator: Salvation was a pretty cool movie, but I think it would have been a lot better if John Connor didn’t know that Kyle Reese was his father. Mainly because they could have included this scene:

After destroying one of Skynet’s major factories, JOHN CONNOR and a group of soldiers — including KYLE REESE — are celebrating by getting completely wasted. While babbling about being the chosen one and gesturing furiously, ┬áJohn accidentally drops a picture of his mother on the table. A soldier picks it up.

Soldier: Hey, who’s this?

John: Nothing, that’s no one, give it back.

Soldier: She’s kinda hot, dude. Do we need to tell your girlfriend about this?

John: That’s my mom, you assholes, now give it back.

Soldier: Whoa! That’s your mom? Lucky!

Kyle Reese takes the picture and looks at it for a long while. He then looks up at John with all seriousness.

Kyle: I’m gonna fuck your mom, John.

John: Dude, shut up.

Kyle: No, seriously.

John: She’s been dead for more than 10 years, dickhead.

Kyle: No man, you know that time machine we found in Skynet’s lab? I’m totally gonna use that to go back in time and bone your mom.

John: Seriously. Shut up.

Kyle: I’m gonna go back in time and you know what I’m gonna say to her?

John: Oh God no. Kyle, don’t say it.

Kyle: “Cum with me if you want to live.”