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The sinking of the mayo(nnaise)

Use this forum to suggest Good Words for Professor Beard.

The sinking of the mayo(nnaise)

Postby David McWethy » Sat Jul 28, 2012 6:12 am

I was doing the Evelyn Woods thing to a jar of mayonnaise while the about-to-be-a-sandwich roast beef was being bombarded with U-238 or whatever in the microwave, when a story I'd heard long ago fought its way through the synapses to the frontal lobes' center-stage; I'm curious if anyone else can lend veracity to this bit of historical trivia:

The original formula for mayonnaise (which began in the late 1800s in the kitchens of the reknowned English firm of Lea, Perrin & Hawkins) was an unmitigated disaster, as it was far, far too spicy--to the point that those with keen hearing could detect the salivary glands exposed to this seminal mayo formula shriek in agony--for the staid British tastes.

It was only through serendipity that the English equivalent of a traveling salesman happened to have a few small jars with him when he paid a call on a regular customer who was in the business of wholesale food-distribution to the larger cities in Mexico.

This version of mayonnaise--hot and pungent enough to immediately clear up even the worst cases of nasal congestion--was a hit far beyond even the wildest imagination of the salesman and in no time (after a small taste had been parceled out from the two jars to as many people as possible) he had orders that would essentially fill even the largest packet ship.

When word was received from across the Atlantic that the three-masted vessel--laden to the point that the Plimsol Line was completely submerged--had left port and was on its way the whole country's frustrated anticipation grew to a near-frenzy, as its populace waited for this delicious garnish to just about every food to finally arrive.

National trauma to the point of catatonia ensued when the terrible news was received that the ship--packed to the point that even in calm waters the sea frequently crashed over the bow--had been sunk in a North Atlantic storm, taking every last pallet, case, and jar of this sought-after version of mayo to the bottom of the sea.

The catastrophe was so great that an annual day of somber remembrance was decreed and although the occasion has, over the years, become jubilant instead of mournful (perhaps as an affirmation that even the worst calamity could be overcome) every year the citizens of Mexico observes the 5th of May: The day of the "sink o' de mayo".

Can anyone offer a disinterested-third-party confirmation of this legend?
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:05 pm

I can certainly confirm that I've been around such celebrations and read about others, so it must be true.
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Postby David McWethy » Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:52 pm

P:

I'm not sure which one of us has the more droll sense of humor, but just in case mine is so tongue-in-cheek as to be missed, the whole recitative is a tapestry of whole cloth, with the punch line being a play on words: Sink o' the mayo vs. Cinco de Mayo--the Mexican holiday celebrating the Battle of Puebla (in which the out-numbered, out-gunned, and out-trained Mexican forces defeated the invading French army), which took place on May 5, 1862.

The need for this explanation (if one was really needed and Perry didn't out-"gotcha!" me) illustrates one problem I've had for a very long time: When I speak or write something as a joke, people often take it seriously and often become offended. And things that I take seriously--like marriage--a select few....well, you get the idea.
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:39 pm

The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks. However, I've never had my humor referred to as droll, merely dry or sick. Others are seldom if ever offended, merely look at me wondering. BTW, re Mayo: I lived ten yrs in TX and two in CA.
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Postby David McWethy » Sat Jul 28, 2012 5:20 pm

I've only seen "droll" used once, in a Yuletide poem ("His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow"...), and felt--since it had never been used as a GoodWord--I'd stick it in and see if it drew sufficient attention from the right direction....

Mac
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Postby Philip Hudson » Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:20 pm

Mac: Welcome to Alpha Agora. I see you have posted a few comments, but this is the first I have noticed. And I surely noticed! That was the longest, most elaborate pun I have ever read. Unfortunately, I guessed the punch line before it came. In Texas we take Cinco de Mayo pretty seriously. I am not of Mexican descent myself, but many of my family are. I thought the pun was great. Dr. Johnson, of dictionary fame, said the pun is the lowest form of humor. But he himself was a punster. I am also fond of malapropisms. They approach puns. My Sainted Aunt used to call an oscillating fan an osculating fan. She knew what she was saying but she wanted to see if other people would notice. Few did. We all practice malaprops in our family.
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Postby David McWethy » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:38 am

My grandmother--who was a child during the Oklahoma Land Run and became a gen-you-wine "Sooner"--and later sold guns & whiskey to the ...um..."Native Americans"--called it "Partial Post" 'til she could speak no more.

Considering how long it took the USPS to deliver a collection of magazines I sold on feeBay, I'm not sure but what she may have been onto something...
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Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:47 am

I think Miracle Whip may outsell mayonnaise in Texas. I know I never even heard of mayonnaise until I was a growed-up-man. Compare the taste. Mayonnaise is dull, oily and heavy on the palate. Miracle Whip is sweeter, sharper (more acid) and just tastes more like Texas.
http://www.neatorama.com/2006/12/22/wha ... ayonnaise/
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Postby David McWethy » Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:59 am

Phillip:

If short puns are more to your liking, I've been told that the shortest one is:

A punophile was put in prison and was told he wouldn't be released until he could come up with a pun befitting his predicament. He wasted not a minute: "O pun the door!".

And thank you, by the way, for sharing the neatorama internet link, by which I quite effectively wasted three hours bouncing from one neat thing to another like a flea on a hot skillet. My favorite--which brought GoodWords to mind--was a T-shirt with a brontosaurus on it and underneath: "Having a great vocabulary didn't save the thesaurus from extinction / eradication / extirpation".

Which is still not as bad as the scene in Jurassic Park where one adult & two (requisite) children are trying to remain hidden from a dinosaur; to combat the children's terror the adult/dinosaur expert deadpans that it was a "Doyouthinkhesawus" & if the'd brought their dog along he could ask "Doyouthinkhesawus, Rex"?

OK, back to another on-spec' column...
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Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:42 am

I hope your spec will fly.
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