For those who may not be familiar, humble pie is called that because the filling is made of innards – that’s a nice way of saying stuff you wouldn’t eat if you knew you were eating it. But I'm mincing words here.
Yesterday I had to eat another piece of humble pie. No sooner had I posted my OS adventure in humility, than some new kid on the block shows up and starts spouting a bunch of fancy French terms on his post.
Now I’ve got nothing against the French, but I do have some strong negative feelings about being humiliated – especially by a newbie, even if his resume (see I can speak French, too) makes mine look like fish-wrapper.
Not only that, but I think he’s been doing a Vulcan Mind-Meld or something on me because right off the bat, he starts talking about clichés (more French) at the very moment I’m composing my very next front-page-for-sure fodder for OS about a cliché.
Now I realize I am at a distinct intellectual and cosmopolitan disadvantage living here in the boonies. Separated from sophisticated companions and other accoutrements (French word) of civilization in this secluded mountain semi-paradise, it was easy to convince myself I was exceptional because here I am exceptional.
Not so in this World of Wordcraft, a room filled with raunchy reprobates, wild-eyed revolutionaries and witty repartistes. Here I am a rube among rubies, offal among opals, dirt among diamonds, pork before pearls – but enough of this alliterative excess, I think you catch my scent.
I’m so envious I made up a word to describe the literati here – ossholes – lord, I apologize for that. But do I at least get credit for coining a word? What if I tell you it's a French word?
In short, I am, at best, I now realize, a shallow Philistine. By the way, what language did Philistines speak? Maybe something like that foreign tongue you hear in Philly, et tu, Sally? (I save the bad puns and Shakespearean allusions for when I really wanna walk the dawg).
Perhaps all this is poetic justice, or maybe even some of the instant karma which has been the subject of a lot of discussion of late here on OS. Or should I have said discussion of latte?
Commenting on one of those posts, I resorted to an old cliché familiar in these parts – if you can’t run with the big dogs, stay under the porch. I’m afraid that dog came back to bite my ass. Or as the more literate would have it “I was hoist with my own petard” (damn! another French word).
Actually, I’m going to stop using that cliché now that I’ve learned it would be difficult for anyone to be hoist with a petard – elevated momentarily, maybe, but not hoist. According to Wikipedia, a petard is a fart.
“Etymology: Middle French, from peter, to break wind, from pet expulsion of intestinal gas, from Latin peditum, from neuter of peditus, past participle of pedere, to break wind; akin to Greek bdein to break wind. (Merriam-Webster) Petard remains a French word meaning a firecracker today (in French slang, it means a handgun, or a joint).”
The term was borrowed for a small explosive device – ahem – hence the hoisting in the cliché. Having passed that enlightening information, I return to my previous unpleasant subject – my comeuppance.
In that first serving of humble pie, I mentioned having been taken to the woodshed by a petty pedant who had his way with me, so to speak, for daring to publish my own book. I bring this sore subject up again only to observe that a petard and a pedant have much in common. They're not only spelled a lot alike, both are noxious, ill-mannered and given to small explosions seldom appreciated by others.
Now, can I have another slice of humble pie, please? Are you sure it’s not fartenning?
©2008 Tom Cordle