Tags

, , , , , ,

SYNOPSIS:
During routine discussion of the meaning of words at the November 21, 2019 monthly meeting of Ishmael’s Etymological Assembly conversation gets heated over more than the ambiguity of the English language.

CHARACTERS:
Torstein de Beer: Male. Heavy German accent. Wears a Kaiser Wilhelm/Pickelhaube helmet.
Sister/Father Maple: Syrupy US Southern accent. Dressed in clerical garments.
Gabrielle/Gabriela: A Nantucket, Massachusetts radical. Wears slip-on shoes, knickers and flowy, puffy sleeved shirt.
Pip Bildad: Scottish accent. Wears kilt.

All characters have drinks at hand.

SETTING:
November 21, 2019, Fortnight Brewery where Ishmael’s Etymological Assembly is conducting their monthly meeting.

[TORSTEIN enters, places case of Pequod Pale Ale 13 on a wobbly stand, looks around the room and taps table twice with his gavel.]

Torstein:
Seeing that the crew is assembled I call to order the November meeting of Ishmael’s Etymological Assembly. [Gavel bang.] Please note that the case before us rests upon a very unsteady foundation.

Pip:
Mr. Foreskin, I object!

Torstein:
It’s Torstein! Or Mr. de Beer! How many times must I tell you this? And to what are you objecting?

Pip:
Right you are, foreskin. Laddies and genitaled of the jury the case before us is liquid, not solid, and therefore any discussion of its steadiness or unsteadiness is irreverent and unethereal.

Maple:
Objection! Unethereal? Pequod Pale Ale 13 is thirteen percent alcohol by volume which by definition is highly spirited. I move we strike Pip’s erroneous and inflammatory testimony from the record.

Gabriela:
Pequod Pale Ale 13 can be set on fire? [Flicks  lighter] Ohhh! Let me see!

Torstein:
There will be no fires set in Fortnight!

Pip:
Semimonthly!

Gabriela:
Bimonthly!

Maple:
Semimonthly. Bimonthly is both ambiguous, amorphous and blasphemous as it is used to mean both once every other month as well as twice a month! Carnage and chaos!

Torstein:
This is exactly why we can only meet once a month. This inability to differentiate between bimonthly and semimonthly is abominable. Ishmael’s Etymological Assembly found the first Friday to be too chaotic and hence has settled on the third Thursday for our monthly meetings. There is no ambiguity, the place isn’t as packed on Thursdays as it tends to be on Fridays and we know precisely when and where we shall be meeting. Here, at Fortnight on the third Thursday of the month.

Gabriela:
It would be nice to meet twice monthly, I mean, we’re meeting at Fortnight! It begs for a semimonthly get together,

Pip:
Fortnight! Once every two weeks is a fortnight!

Torstein:
That would leave us with 26.07142 meetings 75% of the time and-

Pip:
And 26.142857 25% of the time. Yes, yes! We’ve been over all this before!

Maple:
Except on Century years. Those aren’t leap years.

Gabriela:
Oh yeah? Don’t forget 2000!

Pip:
Two-thousand is history! Twenty-one-hundred won’t be a leap year!

Torstein:
Order![Gavel bang.] Order! [Gavel bang.] This meeting will come to order. Our conversation has flown far afield. Ishmael’s Etymological Assembly’s mission is to dissect erroneous word usages that have entered the lexicon of the English language, not to consider the solipsisms of the celestial fields.

Maple:
Astrological.

Pip:
Astronomical.

Gabriela:
[Stunned with own revelation.] Whoa. Leap years are a semi-biennial. Mind blown.

Maple:
Semi-biannual!

Pip:
Semi-semiannual!

Torstein:
[Bangs gavel.] Biennial is a second anniversary. Gabriela, despite her nonstandard usage, is mostly correct. A thing that occurs every four years could be described as a semi-biennial.

Maple:
I thought it was a plant that lives for two years?

Gabriela:
It’s something that only occurs every other year, so a leap year is a semi-biennial.

Pip:
Biannual occurs every other year.

Gabriela:
False, Pip Bildad! False and inflammatory. Biannual is something that happens twice a year. Like equinoxes. Or Solsti.

Maple:
Isn’t that equini and solsticeses?

Torstein:
It is equinoxes and solstices. I just Googled it this morning!

Gabriela:
Whatever for? What are you, a Wiccan?

Torstein:
No, Lutheran. Astronomy, not astrology.

Maple:
What’s your source on solsticeses?

Torstein:
My source is preeminent and impeachable. I used Dictionary Dot Com.

Maple:
Dictionary dot com? B’gosh and begorrah to steal a quip from Pip! Go Webster’s or go home.

Pip:
Oxford!

Gabriela:
Slip-ons! Laces are for losers!

Torstein:
I perused carefully.

[Pip, Gabriela and Maple all stare at Torstein.]

Torstein:
What?! That is the literal meaning of peruse! To look carefully, not this bastardized skimming you Americans insist on. Do I need to teach you all English?

Pip:
Hey, laddie! Watch who you’re calling an American.

Gabriela:
I think you mean, do I need to teach all of you English, not, “teach us all English?”

Torstein:
That’s literally what I just said!

Maple:
Well, the last part is. Almost. You said, “Do I need to teach you all English?” and Gabbi said teach us all English so she changed the pronoun you to us when we had a perspective change. And teaching us all English would never end as language is an evolving, changing, dynamic entity. I think you’d have much better luck if you tried to teach all of us English.

Pip:
I believe our change in perspective is precisely the problem. The case before us is Pequod Pale Ale 13.

Gabriela:
Which can or cannot be ignited?

Torstein:
Regardless of can or cannot it may not. At least not in Fortnight. You are welcome to take your share home and experiment with them as you see fit.

Maple:
Them or it?

Torstein:
Yes.

Maple:
No, I meant which is correct?

Torstein:
Yes, I know what you meant and I believe both are legitimate here. It is your share but we will divide them equitably as per our shares.

Pip:
Equitably, not equally.

Gabriela:
Justice for Ishmael!

Torstein:
Our society, based upon the principles laid forth by the late, great Herman Melville [All bow heads.] who painstakingly laid forth the procedures by which investors and crew members of Nineteenth Century whaling ships were equitably awarded proportions of profit, distributes our provisions based upon shares. It is all in the Assembly’s charter and any changes in our bylaws must be presented in committee, lobbied and voted upon.

Gabriela:
I so move!

Torstein:
[Gavel thump.] Out of order!

Maple:
Crewmate Gabriela has a point. Why aren’t our shares distributed equally?

Gabriela:
Yes! We pay the same dues.

Torstein:
Because equal and fair are not synonyms. Our dues are more than geld. Those of us who have been members longer have sweat equity. If you’re unhappy I suggest you write an amendment to our constitution.

Pip:
Amendments require a two-thirds majority vote.

Torstein:
[Gavel thump.] Order! Order!

Maple:
I move we move Ishmael’s Etymological Assembly farther than we’ve done before.

Torstein:
Farther or further? Are we talking distance or ideology?

Maple:
Distance! It’s getting awfully noisy in here. I move we move outside to the veranda.

Pip:
Lanai.

Gabriela:
The deck!

Torstein:
Or courtyard. I believe we should table further discussion on moving farther until after we have finished sharing our thoughts on the equitable distribution of shares.

Pip:
Equitable!

Gabriela:
Queequeg! Queequeg! Queequeg!

Torstein:
Order! [Gavel bang.] Order! [Gavel bang.] We shall have order.

Pip:
If you’d distribute the Pequod Pale we wouldn’t have to order again.

Maple:
You know we’re not allowed to ingest or imbibe any outside food or drink inside these Fortnight walls. We gave our word in return for the space.

Pip:
Aye, aye. And aye yai yai yai yai yai. Sprains my sporran every time I buy a drink.

Torstein:
A society is only as good as its word and Ishmael’s Etymological Assembly has given ours. Das Pequod Pale must not be opened until you are home. Arrive alive. Don’t drink and drive.

Maple:
“Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian,” to quote Saint Melville.

Gabriela:
Body of Christ?

Maple:
Blasphemy!

Pip:
“Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I’d strike the sun if it insulted me.” 

Gabriela:
Ahab! Ahab! Ahab! Ahab!

Torstein:
Order! [Thumps gavel.] Order! [Thumps gavel.]

Lights Down