My dad yesterday recounted a story involving a friend (of my dad's generation) who professed both unfamiliarity with the word 'cannabis' and an inability to find that word in a dictionary -- two odd bits of cognitive incapacitation that rather ironically suggest a robust familiarity with the substance in issue, if not its designation.
Anyway, this got me thinking about basic dictionary-using competence. Seems like if you weren't good at using a dictionary, you'd have a need for a reference work, say, "Dictionaries for Dummies." But then given the very incapacity in issue, you'd need another reference work for that, ostensibly "'Dictionaries for Dummies' for Dummies." And so on. This obviously leads to a pedagogically vicious regress. Turns out, then, dictionary illiteracy is irremediable.
As a corollary, it is impossible that you are comprehending this post at all.
P.Z. stirs me out of my bloggerly dormancy with a viral challenge to name
An interesting animal I had;
An interesting animal I ate;
An interesting animal in the Museum;
An interesting thing I did with or to an animal; and
An interesting animal in its natural habitat
and then infect nine other hosts with the meme. This is a suitably frivolous exercise, so looks like I've little choice but to succumb to this animal madness:
An interesting animal I had. A Bajan vervet monkey. His name was Togo. We'd met him down at the local beach bar, Sparky's Joint (itself a watering hole frequented by many other forms most interesting). My folks offered Togo's owner one of our Doberman pups in exchange. Togo turned out to be a handful. He was by turns aggressive and, well...overly amorous. (Ever heard Richard Pryor's bit about his pet monkey who had an unnatural attraction to the external acoustic meatus? Let's just say I find his account ear-ticklingly plausible.)
An interesting animal I ate. Rattlesnake cooked on an open fire. Tasted like...rattlesnake.
An interesting animal in the Museum. At a museum? The only animals I've ever seen at a museum were taxidermied. And the less interesting for it. (Then again, there was Picasso's Goat at MoMA. Does that count?)
An interesting thing I did with or to an animal. When I was seven I shook forelimbs with Orky (or maybe it was Corky) at (now defunct) Marineland. Also, patted his (or her) tongue. Wow. Second place: Swimming amidst a vast bloom of small jellyfish in the Caribbean Sea. They stung, to be sure, but the pain was mild, and I wasn't about to give up viewing this extraordinary spectacle.
An interesting animal in its natural habitat. I've encountered barracuda a couple of times while snorkling. They rarely attack humans, but man they are some creepy looking fish. Second place: Vervet monkeys. Yes, the forest around our house was swarming with them. They are not highly domesticable. Togo didn't much care for his wild brethren, either.