Monday, June 14, 2010

Erl and Water

Of course, with the ongoing Debacle in the Gulf, there’s been a lot of (sometimes curse-laden) talk around here about oil, but in our regional vernacular, this is often rendered as “erl”: Erl is washing up here. Erl was sighted there. The top kill didn't stop the erl. The junk shot didn't stop the erl. Erl is destroying the jobs of thousands and robbing their children of a way of life that has existed here for generations. Etc.

Which reminds me of a joke,* told around here in my father’s youth. I’ll paraphrase:
Q: Why did the little yat** put the TV on the radiator?

A: To watch Milton Berle.
Get it? Boil/Berle? (Oil/erl.) Get it? Ha ha ha ha ha ha… ugh.

* Apparently, laughing in the face of calamity is an essential life skill down here. One can’t help but feeling mad, sick, and sad
they’re inevitable and appropriate responses—but an unrelenting diet of anger, nausea, and sorrow makes it mighty hard to get out of bed in the morning. Folks would have given up on this godforsaken city and this tenuous slice of less-than-land a long time ago (Yellow Jack, hurricanes, poverty, floods, pestilence, heat, crime, corruption... and cataclysmic environmental disasters) if they couldn’t take or make a joke, however dark (or, er, frivolously tangential and corny).

** Yeah, this one requires some contextual cultural knowledge. If you don’t know what dat “yat” is, den read dat link.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:38 PM

    Once again I guess we have proved that erl and water do not mix!