January 28, 2012

The family motto

I told my kids the story of Shakespeare's family coat-of-arms, and his choice of motto:

"Non Sans Droit" --> "Not Without Right"

Which, of course, Ben Jonson satirized as "Not Without Mustard" (link).

So, what should our family motto be?

I proposed "Dignity:  Always Dignity" (link), but the boys prefer "There Are Wheels Within Wheels".  This, as every schoolchild knows, is the mantra of Wodehouse's scheming and witless, but also unsinkable Monty Bodkin, borrowed from verses in Ezekiel that describe an extraterrestrial visit (or not).

Lest we forget, Bodkin is ultimately fired from the Mammoth Publishing Company following his decision to incorporate the following material in the Uncle Woggly column of Tiny Tots magazine:
Well now, let's get down to it. This week, my dear little souls, Uncle Woggly is going to put you on to a good thing. We all want to make a spot of easy money these hard times, don't we? Well, here's the lowdown, straight from the horse's mouth. All you have to do is get hold of some mug and lure him into betting that a quart whisky bottle holds a quart of whisky. 
Sounds rummy, what? I mean, that's what you would naturally think that it would hold. So does the mug. But it isn't. It's really more, and I'll tell you why.  
First you fill the bottle. This gives you your quart. Then you shove the cork in. And then—follow me closely here—you turn the bottle upside down and you'll find there's a sort of bulging-ion part at the bottom. Well, slosh some whisky into that, and there you are. Because the bot. is now holding more than a quart and you scoop the stakes.


Post a Comment

<< Home