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Jackson, Shirley

Charles

In the plot of today’s story, you will find mentioned a real-world conversational device that I can’t help but love, in a guiltily pleasuristic sort of way. I’m not sure what to call it, though I’m sure the modern linguists have had their way with it.

It’s like an eponymous spoonerism, but maybe a little light on the spoony bits. Specifically, in the story, the title character is an obnoxious, bratty, trouble-making, foot-stamping boar of a kid, and so, to the other characters, “making a Charles” became a token turn-of-phrase for anybody’s obnoxious, bratty, trouble-making, foot-stamping boarish action. The young people these days might lean toward “pulling a …” (as in, “I really pulled a Miette yesterday, charmed the socks right off the world itself,” or, the day before yesterday, it might’ve been “you so pulled a Miette just then– that’s the most ridic thing I’ve ever heard. ” )

In any event, in my world of endless potential projects, I’ve been fantasizing about creating a sort of dictionary, cataloguing all the actions I associated with people I know– it’d be a panegyric, really, to my people, so that I might eventually come up with a new abstruse colloquial vocabulary. I might say, for instance, “Yesterday I Jasoned a Frederick and had a Juniper while Ronning an Ashley,” with each name representing something very specific and particular and well-defined in my own terms. And you think you can’t understand what I’m saying now, just you -wait-.

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