I wish to conjoin in solidity with your erstwhile correspondent Mr Maurice Danser, in respect of his plea about names.
You see, I am no stranger to the agonies of owning a 'notorious' name. Even my grandmother, whilst I was yet a toothless bairn in mittens and a tartan balaclava, would beset me with cries of 'give her a bun', and, twisting my nose would utter 'what a fine trunk'. At St Ethelfrith's School For Girls, I might have fancied myself installed in a haven. But no. They would come at me with a hosepipe and yard brush, crying 'get up now, Jumbo'. At the start of the holidays, the whole dorm, seeing me packing my suitcase, would sing as a oneness: 'Nellie the Elephant packed her trunk and said goodbye to the circus.'
It is only in latter years, since I moved to the Isle of Man, that I am safe, it seems, though I often detect a sneer on the postman's lip of a morning as I greet him in my bedjacket. You know, I begin to regret donating him that bedjacket.
Can I add my own tale to those of other correspondents in the Hall of Names? I speak as one who is utterly fed up of so-called 'comedians', some of whom I have never met, proffering rubbish like 'Why don't you join the Communist Party and become a Red Salman?' or 'Have you ever smoked, Salman?'
They think it is funny. Let me tell you, it isn't. Though why I tell you, I don't know, except that there is little point in me telling them through your letters pages, given that they won't listen to me face to face, never mind hearken to my words in the pages of a journal they never so much as glance at.
When Polly Gwen Isosceles said to me yesterday 'Have you ever hunted illegally? I bet you've poached, Salman!' she thought she was so clever, until I pointed out that her name sounds like 'Polygon Isosceles'. That shut her up. And when I went on to quip, 'it's different from another angle isn't it; now do you see my point?' she threw a tin of spotted dick at me.
I am another victim of this name business. What fault is it of ours that we are so saddled with a name that lends itself to parody? Let me tell you, 30 years of listening to 'how's things on the Serengeti?' or such witticisms as 'I bet you're a real bounder!' and 'oh please don't rush at me as if to clash but never touch in a mock fight intended to ratify the boundaries of our respective territories'.
I did hear a new one last night, in the park. 'Does David Attenborough know you're here in England?' cried a frisbee-throwing fool.
I am afraid to admit that the frisbee was returned to him in something of a hurry.
Gaz L Thomson
let me reassure your readers that it is not only the 'animal name' brigade who suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous name joking idiots at large.
With working in the Human Resources business, you can imagine how I walk a tightrope of innuendo each and every day.
My boss, Mrs Curdler, is always saying things like 'I knew when we employed you, our staff turnover would rocket', and 'you still keeping us busy, moving 'em in and moving 'em out?'
I usually bear it with rectitude enough, though one day I did stoop so far as to retort 'Mrs Curdler, you are the very milk of human magnesia'. As you can imagine, it was lost on her.
Well. What can you expect of a lady whose use of the barb 'with you on our books, we've hardly time to give them their inductions before you've given them the golden boot' borders on the obsessive.
Hyram N Firum
It is not only being with the Englander of these your co-respondents, that I am with being in a similarity with them.
Indeed, it is to say which, not that they would, in such a motion, to know the sympathetical empathies withal I have in every way simulated.
For mine own nomenclatures are renowned in this town where I have very recently been driven to inhabit, at the bicycle clip manufactor whose housings large I am given here to dwell and to there of work.
But what cries in the dawnings as 'Hey there Fritz old boy, please not to be the bearer of lead bulletins that puncture my Spitfire good chap in the Battle of Britain we have already been given the privilege which is to fight.'
And the nacht, it is not from the houndings bereft. For my landfrau, she will 'you should be at number 109 Mein Herr, and this is a mere number 45 Daffodil Crescent of which we feel the shame that is the fear we have that the humour away which it is to drive!'
Oh how she is there to laugh, and my fury it is which I have in every way been given. Her husbanding, he is the small person who 'morning Jerry, been down in the drink lately?' is joking.
How ever was it that these in the war were those who the winning did in every way gain?
M S R Schmidt
Far be it from me to intrude upon or obtrude within or indeed extrude without the private griefs of others less fortunate than myself. However, although my complaint is not so much about wordplays upon my name, I do feel it is pertinent to the issue or matter in hand or tantamount to the matter at issue.
You will be familiar with the popular doggerel, to whit, or viz.:
A peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper
Where's the peck of pickled pepper Peter Piper picked?
Now let me straightway confront you with my point. That is a lot of rot. Sheer rubbish. Over the countless thousands of fools who daily incant this drivel, I am moved to draw a heavy veil. Their idiotic voices would stain the flawless curtain of our consciousness otherwise.
But need I point out, the lunacy of picking a peck of pickled pepper? Now, in the pepper-picking game - which, I feel sure you now guess, is my own trade or indeed profession - yes, it is true that we pick many a peck of these peppers. Here at Piper's Peppers of Stoke Poges, we wander through the serried ranks of peppers and pick them, peck after peck, come rain, hail or shine.
We were not the recipient of the Queen's Award For Pepper Picking 1978 for nothing, notwithstanding it was the Queen of Tonga on holiday who gave it out. Royalty is Royalty. And pepper picking is pepper picking, whomsoever the Patroness may be.
But, again, how can I stress enough the ridiculous nature of this doggerel verse that would imagine the picking of peppers already pickled as they hang in the pepper fields?
Now some may point to the enigma enshrined in the question encompassed by the 3rd and 4th lines of our ludicrous rhyme or tongue-twister, and say: 'that is where the very verse itself addresses your own concerns'.
But to these I counter: 'Tommy rot. The whole thing is a farrago fit only for the compost heap of history.'
I would finally entreat your readers, please do not fall into the twin traps of popular misconception and pepper ridicule. Think: where would you be without peppers?
Remember the houting, the noble fish that once relied upon estuaries and brackish waters to forage and disappeared from South Eastern England in the late 19th century. Children would sing, as they skipped in the playgrounds of Lincolnshire:
For if we laugh at the stupid great houting
Then how many houting in an hour can we laugh at?
An hour's worth of houting we shall have at which to laugh
The houting has gone. It will not return.
Let not such a fate befall the pepper fields of Buckinghamshire.