Monday, July 14, 2008

On Viking Shit

A few years ago, I signed up for “A Word A Day,” which- as hinted in the name- is an e-mail service through which you receive a brand new word, complete with definition and suggested usage and everything, in your inbox each day. Since I like words and stuff, it’s kind of fun (you know, in that nerdy, geeky kind of fun that is really not all that much fun the more you think about it). And while I don’t usually remember the words too well or really ever start throwing them into my writing or speech with any regularity (so as to avoid being punched in the face for being too fancy), I like being reminded that there are, like, a whole shitload of words out there besides the ones most of us tend to use all the time. This language of ours- it really is full of possibilities (for example, there are probably several other words I could have just used right there).

Recently, the word of the day was coprolite. To my ear, coprolite sounds like some sort of futuristic building material, something one might find on the space shuttle or in the lining of a bulletproof vest. As it turns out, however, coprolite is a word meaning fossilized excrement or- as one might say on the streetz- seriously old shit.

Delighted by this new word, I decided to investigate a bit and found that if you find yourself in Yorkshire, England, you see 1000 year-old Viking coprolite on display at the JORVIK Viking Centre (note: the level of excitement I am feeling right now just knowing that somewhere in the world there is a viking center is something for another post altogether). Scientists have analyzed the Viking shit and determined that the Vikings, despite all their apparent hard living, appear to have enjoyed a balanced diet that included lots of vegetables like leeks, cabbages, and beans. The scientists go on to say that the Vikings most likely acheived their “5-a-day” target, which I first thought referred to going #2 five times a day (impressive at any time in history if you ask me) but turns out refers to having 5 servings of vegetables a day (not as fun).

I was surprised to find that the Vikings managed to find time for such healthy eating, you know, what with all the raping and pillaging and stuff they were up to (by all accounts, they could be total dicks sometimes). And as for the five shits a day- I still say if anyone could have pulled it off it would have been the Vikings. Those were some mofos who really lived life to the fullest. Just look at the helmets- it really seems like it was good times all the time with that bunch. Who’s with me?

Getting back to the Viking crap, however, I am happy to report that it is on permanent display at the JORVIK Viking Centre according to their website, which I guess isn’t really all that surprising. I mean, after all, who’s gonna wanna move that shit?

Another word I enjoyed recently through AWAD e-mails was pusillanimous, which means “lacking courage; timid,” which is to say “to be a pussy.” Some people frown upon using the word pussy in every day speech (you know, cuz it seemingly refers to lady parts), but now that we know it’s true derivation we can say it with confidence. Am I right or am I right? Thanks, AWAD- you guys are totally not pussies! Keep up the good work!

Dave Hill


Anonymous Eardley said...

Yep I have been to the Jorvik viking centre and seen the old shit. I went when I was about 10 years old and the memory is seared into my brain. York is about the second most popular place for tourists in the UK and the queue to get in was seriously long. Then you go on this ace ride that takes you back in time (as far as I can remember there are some mannequins dressed like Lulu and then it's the Black Death, but there were probably some things in between) you experience the sights and smells of the Anglo-Saxon times but for some reason I decided the overwhelming smell was pig shit, although I wasn't raised on a farm and had not had much experience of porcine toilet habits. They hold the Viking Shit right till the end and my memory of off this was a really thin streak of brown inside a circle of glass. I really wasn't sure I was looking at anything. Still, at least I can say I've done it. I would visit again if it wasn't so damn expensive.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Reetha said...

With a warm, lo-fi gold sound reminiscent of the bygone Pavement era, it might make sense that Matador has recently picked up Times New Viking as one of the latest bands on their roster. However, it is at least a bit surprising - while Matador was a home for many of the cornerstone bands and offbeat choices of the 90s, the label's more recent acquisitions aren't anything necessarily bold or peculiar. It's refreshing and pretty awesome, that they've decided to go with a few relatively unknown, but celebrated underground pop bands like Memphis' Jay Reatard and Times New Viking, the latter of which emerged as one of the first releases in years from the pioneering imprint Siltbreeze.


8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting post. I would love to follow you on twitter.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason using "Pussy" is frowned upon relates to the idea of a woman being "less than". If a boy is seen as a "pussy", he is looked upon as weak. If a girl is a "tomboy", that is looked on as being a strength. Our culture these days tends to place the negative onto the female, not a balance.

10:32 PM  

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