Doodly-squat

The Compass - - Editorial - Harold Wal­ters

Sticks and stones, eh b’ys? Words can never hurt you. No one be­lieves that’s true. Words, as Buddy with the pen said, can cut to the bone slick as the might­i­est sword slic­ing but­ter.

Dear­est Duck ver­bally fil­leted me the other day af­ter we re­turned home from Costco. She flensed me as if I were a whale car­cass moored broad­side to a blub­ber fac­tory.

I’ll get back to that tongue lash­ing.

First, I want to ex­plore some ar­cane vo­cab­u­lary.

In a pre­vi­ous cen­tury, while I was still an in­no­cent bay-boy, it was pos­si­ble to shat­ter young­sters with a sin­gle word. It still is pos­si­ble. Nowa­days, how­ever, the young­ster is more likely to de­mand the tor­men­tor cease and de­sist, or else wind up as a bully-post on YouTube.

In those olden days though, Meany got in a meek kid’s face, poked said kid in the belly-but­ton and said, “You know what?” “What?” Meek Kid qua­vered. “You’re a squat and I’m not! HaHaHa­ha­haha!”

Not say­ing it was me, but Meek Kid col­lapsed in a bawl­ing heap bawl­ing.

For be­ing called a squat? “Harry, my enig­matic love, (or words to that ef­fect),” says Dear­est Duck, seem­ing to have for­got­ten the lac­ing ren­dered to my sen­si­tive ego af­ter last week’s Costco trip, “surely you ex­ag­ger­ate.”

“My Duck,” say I, “don’t peek. You may read up­set­ting words.”

I’m not ly­ing. For rea­sons ob­scured in folk­lore, once upon a time be­ing called a squat could re­duce the re­cip­i­ent to tears.

What was so aw­ful about be­ing a squat?

For frig sake, what was a squat any­way?

Among us to­day are those who rig them­selves up in Lu­l­ule­mon — what­ever that is — park their eco-cars tight to the doors of some lo­cal high-end ex­er­cise em­po­rium, and, hy­dra­tion con­tainer in hand, dash in­side to do squats.

Peo­ple who do work­out squats rep­e­ti­tions can’t be called squat­ters be­cause home­less folk who oc­cupy aban­doned build­ings are al­ready called squat­ters and the makeshift liv­ing-quar­ters are called squats.

Con­fus­ing, eh b’ys?

My ear­lier ques­tion is still unan­swered.

What is a squat?

A squat is noth­ing.

For in­stance, if some fin­ger-pointer ad­dresses you and says, “You know doodly-squat,” the ep­i­thet sug­gests you know noth­ing.

Does ig­no­rance make you a squat? If so, is that a ter­ri­ble thing?

“Harry!”

Mind warp­ing, eh b’ys? Okay, pic­ture the hun­kered­down po­si­tion of those squat­ters back at the gym. Re­move their de­signer bar­bells — or what­ever — and roll their lu­l­ule­mons down around their knees. They look like they’re quat down in re­sponse to Mother Na­ture’s beck­on­ing.

(A vo­cab­u­lary aside for clar­i­fi­ca­tion: quat is a col­lo­qui­al­ism for squat … with the s knocked out of it.)

“Harry!”

P’raps, though, ages be­fore Mother Na­ture en­cour­aged her hu­man off­spring to go whoop­sie in­doors, the pos­ture as­so­ci­ated with do­ing one’s busi­ness, gave squat neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions.

If you were called a squat, it meant you were a lit­tle … Rea­son enough to weep, I s’pose.

If you knew doodly-squat, it meant you knew less than… An­other rea­son for tears. Who knows?

Not me.

Any­way, most of the pre­ced­ing scrib­bles are ex­cel­sior — pack­ing ma­te­rial like those Sty­ro­foam peanuts used in shipping break­ables.

In other words, stuff­ing, in­su­lat­ing me from the painful sub­ject I’ve been avoid­ing — Dear­est Duck’s ver­bal flog­ging of my heed­less hide.

In Costco’s park­ing lot that day the wind cut at our legs like ninja throw­ing stars. Dear­est Duck hung like a coun­ter­weight from the hatch­back of our SUV, her tippy-toes tap­ping with each gust. I care­fully, care­fully, care­fully un­loaded the cart and at­ten­tively packed each item into one of those Costco cooler sacks the size of a hockey bag.

In Costco’s park­ing lot that day the wind cut at our legs like ninja throw­ing stars.

I placed the fresh meats — steaks, as­sorted chicken cuts, sausages, slabs of salmon, and an un­frozen turkey — in­side, one atop the other. I strate­gi­cally tucked in ice packs, ex­tra in­sur­ance against the meat spoil­ing on the re­turn trip to our hap­pily-ev­er­after bay-abode.

Costco bag scoated to the kitchen, I re­clined in my Lay-Z-Boy sip­ping Ten­sion Tamer while Dear­est Duck un­packed the meats.

“Harry, my heed­less honey,” she said, ap­proach­ing me in full-blown an­droid rage, the cooler bag tipped to­wards me, dis­play­ing ev­i­dence. “You squat the sausages!”

I squat the sausages?

Oops.

Squat flat on the bot­tom of the Costco bag was the pack­age of sausages, the first item I’d lodged in the bag be­fore I stogged all the other meat on top, the com­bined weight of which had squeezed the sausage meat out of its mem­bra­nous cas­ing.

B’ys, the sausages were squat on the bot­tom of the bag — not quat, de­spite hav­ing the life squeezed out of them.

Dear­est Duck lashed into me and peeled me like a spud.

Thank you for read­ing.

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