January 22, 2007

Our vanishing civilization

I have just read a very disturbing thing, on some blog or other. The writer spoke of a "fine tooth-comb", an expression I often see, and I must share with you that this, is what is wrong with the young. They cannot be bothered to work, or to respect their elders, or to take a becoming interest in social and humanitarian concerns. Instead, they lounge about with their hands in their pockets, combing their teeth! And they feel that they are so very grand, only the finest tooth-comb will do.

It is a scandal.


I am brought by the lee! This joke occurred to me halfway through the third paragraph on page 205 of The Letter of Marque by Patrick O'Brian. I instantly dropped the book and posted. Huzzah!

But as I now continue reading, I find that precisely the same joke occurs to O'Brian in paragraph four. Having read the damned book twice before now, I really have no excuse at all. But it is no use whining. That would be locking two birds in one basket, after the barn is... after the stone has burned.

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Or they are slobs like me; I haven't combed my teeth in ages. I am afraid of what my dental hygienist will say.
This is what happens when one casts the pearly treasures of the English language before illiterate American swine. Just the other day I complimented someone on "working like a Trojan" and was rewarded with a mouthful of quite intemperate abuse. Does no-one read the Iliad any more?
Musta been an American blog. Most Brits almost never comb their teeth. Around these here United States, they've developed a reputation for that -- just like all French men are reputed to jauntily sport a scarf and a beret.

Now 'Murikins, on the other hand, are obsessed with things dental.* A tooth-comb is never fine enough for them.

Ivan, perhaps you should have tried "working like a Stakhanovite"?

*Except for meth addicts; they're hell-bent on turning their own teeth, slowly yet inexorably, into powder.
It's still a good joke.
wohoa! did i guve u taht albam or did ujust buy it?
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