Introduction: The “Linguistics Professor”
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
There was nothing wrong with the hull of the boat that a ball-peen hammer to bang out the dents and a fresh coat of primer wouldn’t fix. Clearly it had featured an outboard motor of some sort at one time. Mangled remnants of the mounting bracket still dangled from the stern, but the vessel’s current skipper now piloted it with a single long oar, like a gondolier.
He wore a much-faded, gray-blue suit, possibly a uniform, the pants of which were torn off at the knees and the jacket of which was essentially sleeveless, but a long, official looking, golden chain still looped from his belt to his back pocket. His mustache was large, but not utterly unkempt. His skin was raw red from the sun. This man had clearly known better days within a wider civilization. Even so, when he joined the conversation his tone was cheerful, even avuncular:
“Little known fact. The world “tailgate” in its current usage is misspelled and mis-derived. The word was redefined to mean a social event held on and around the open rear gate of a vehicle, often at large sporting events, most especially football, back when such doings were permitted; but what very few people besides dedicated experts such as myself understand is that the first word of the compound is more accurately spelled “t-a-l-e”, as in a type of story. The “talegate” was an ancient, quasi-mystical tradition, in which our forbears’ forbears believed that if enough of the right sorts of souls gathered in a circle, a particular portal would open, allowing stories to pour forth from the realm of the Gods and the Giants.
“I believe it is still possible to open such a gate, right here, right now, on this very lake, at this very hour, palpably witching as it is. And if you all will oblige me, I’d like very much to deliver the first offering.”
Read the story in October...
You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.