Monday, February 28, 2011

Kangaroo & Didgeridoo

Guinea pigs as a breed are generally interested in names and the origin of words.  I think this must come from being so utterly mis-named ourselves.  We do not come from Guinea, we certainly cost more than a guinea and even the most Tasmanian amongst us can see that we are not pigs.  We're far better looking - I know I am at least.  So while Pea and Chook weren't looking I took a sneak peak at Wikipedia and that was no help at all.  Messrs Wikki & Pedia had no idea where the name came from. They did however say that guinea pigs were used to diagnose certain ailments such as jaundice and typhus.  This was done by rubbing the animal over the sufferer although it's not clear how one assessed a positive or negative diagnosis.  Apparently black guinea pigs were particularly sought after in this regard.  The animal was then killed and it's entrails sifted through in order to assess the success of whatever treatment was prescribed.  My mate Badger is a very black little cavy so he'd better watch out because Pea will be rubbing him up and down his body next time he thinks he has a cold coming on.  Yuck!  What a thought.

Legend has it that the kangaroo got it's name as follows.  When Captain Cook first rowed ashore in Australia he was met by an aboriginal with a dead kangaroo over his shoulder and a didgeridoo in his hand.  Captain Cook is reputed to have said.  "I say my good man. What is that creature you have slung over your shoulder?"  Actually, since Captain Cook was a Yorkshireman it was probably more likely to have been. "Hey up lad! Ee by 'eck and eckythump.  In t'name o' Geoffrey Boycott and Yorkshire bitter, what the 'eck's that on tha shoulder?"  Understandably the aboriginal gentleman replied in his own dialect "Kangaroo." Which translated means "I can't understand a word you're saying mate."  Captain Cook then nodded sagely and pointed to the didgeridoo.  "Cheers pal," he said. "And what's wi' wooden downpipe tha's got in t'other hand like?" To which the aboriginal chap said "Didgeridoo", which translates to "Piss off back to England ya pommy bastard." A nice story I know, but unlikely to be true if only due to the fact that didgeridoos originated in the northern territory and were unlikely to have been known to the Aboriginal tribes of eighteenth century southern Australia.

Pea's full name is Peter.  This is a biblical name meaning stone or rock.  It's an apt name for Pea since his head seems to be full of them.  Chook is a funny one.  Her name Jacquelin means in Hebrew "The Supplanter."  Who did she supplant?  Who was in Pea's heart when Chook wormed her way in there and supplanted them.  I'll have to interrogate Pea further on this issue and I'll keep you informed.  Meanwhile I have to admit that Badger has wormed his way into my little piggy heart.  I just can't keep my paws off him, even though I know it means that my testostricles are hanging by a thread - so to speak.  Trouble is he's such a tease.  He just sits there all innocent, with his big brown eyes, little white nose and a little lost pig expression on his face. My legs turn to jelly and then I just have to mount him, I can't help myself and I always get caught.  Not Badger though, he makes sure no one's looking and I'm bending over my dish having tea before he pounces.  It brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.  Of course one meaning of the word badger is "to harass or pester persistently" which strangely enough is what we do to each other.    

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