What? No, no, no. Not what, but who? Yes, that is the appropriate question. Who limns a hemidemisemiquaver hebdomadally? Let’s figure this one out.
I know that a lime is a scurvy preventative. I know that a limbo is a dance that 6’4″ mates are not to partake in. I know a hymn is a religious song. Perhaps a limn is a religious song about lime eating limbo dancers? That makes sense to me. I mean if you were going to invent a word for a religious song about lime eating limbo dancers, limn would seem the logical choice. But, why do limbo dancers eat limes? Are they prone to scurvy? Do they engage in piracy on the side? Well, I mean I guess that makes sense, you know. Pirates at sea for months at a time, sick of eating fish, and tired of the cranky captain, with no dames to satisfy their lusts, would obviously be in need of entertainment. And, they ships have masts, so you know that long rods of wood are readily available, and they can double as a very nice limbo stick when not supporting the sails. Well, that’s silly. I mean a mast would be too big for a limbo pole, but you would think if they have access to those massive posts, there would have to be smaller ones somewhere, like the branches of the tree that most likely were carved into the mast in the first place. And there is no reason to suspect that pirates are not a frugal group that tries to utilize all their resources to their fullest potential, like the plains Indians and their use of buffalo. I think I’ve seen feathers in both pirate and Indian head pieces. Perhaps that is not a coincidence. Anywwho, so we have our resourceful pirates, perhaps related to fellow feather aficionado Indians, who double as limbo dancers with the branches saved from the tree that was used to create the masts for their ships because they need entertainment on the lonely voyages and an escape from the madness of the tyrannical captain suffering from scurvy due to a lack of vitamin C that they crew does not suffer from because they added lime juice to their bottles of rum because everybody knows that a limbo party is much more fun with sweetened cockatoos, I mean cocktails.
Now, we all now that it is not possible to limbo without limbo music, so it must be assumed that the pirate dancers were hopping to something on the deck of the ship. But, most important is the tempo and rhythm of the music because that absorbs into the minds of the contortionists and can make or break a successful pass under the limbo pole. What would be ideal? Personally, I think Marcia Griffith‘s ‘Electric Boogie’ would be the perfect limbo party song, but our pirates of old were not lucky enough to be blessed with that hit. Now, as anyone who has limboed knows, as the bar gets lower you have to take little hops to pass under and if you stand still for too long you will inevitably fall. So, ideal limbo music would have a rhythm and beat and tempo that had lots of little ‘bunny hops’, quick ones, right after another, the more the merrier to pass under the bar sooner. A whole note would obviously be too slow. But, we also want to be aware of the physical limitations of our limbo jumpers and not make the music too fast. It has been told to me, from an inside source, that in order to determine how quick-footed the average pirate was they decided to remove the hem from their captain’s coat (as he was in a scurvy stupor) and make a jump rope of sorts so that one of their most average pirate mates would attempt to jump over the rope as the rest of the crew counted the number of revolutions made my the ropers. As it turns out, the hem demonstrated a semi-impressive 64 jumps before the pirate passed out, quavering on the deck. But, they now knew that music with 1/64 notes would be ideal for limbo hopping, and aptly named these ideal limbo notes hemidemisemiquavers as a sort of tribute to their little experiment. I am not familiar with popular music artists of their day, but understand that strumming stringed instruments with hemidemisemiquavers was not difficult for the pirates as they already had calloused fingers from swabbing the deck and erecting the masts for their sailing vessels. If only we could invent a time machine, because I really want to send them a demo of ‘Electric Boogie’. After they tire of limboing they would have enough space on that deck for an awesome electric slide. That would be quite a sight, matey.
Obviously, though, these limbo pirates could not be partying all the time as much work has to be done for successful looting and bootying. There are decks to be swabbed. Ships to outrun. Cannons to be fired. Maps to be drawn. And, after a night of limbo lunacy, the pirates would obviously need a day or two to fully recover. Remember they imbibe rum with hints of lime to lower their inhibitions and better groove their waists under that pole! So, technically, if a limbo party lasts a night with a day to recover, our pirates have only five full days to take care of all their other work. The captain, of course, with nothing but gold nuggets on his mind, believes that any time at play is time not in pursuit of treasure. Just like a 7-Eleven, he is at it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Purportedly, there was a time in the beginning of piracy when the crew did work seven days a week, but they soon lost their tempers as they bled and teared for stale bread while Mr. Captain lounged in his cabin counting his loot. One day, a crafty little pirate, used his stale bread to lure the captain’s parrot off his perch. Now, as the parrot was actually the accountant for the dimwitted captain, he was at a loss without his number crunching pal and heaps of gold yet to tabulate. Querying the crew, yelling and screaming, the captain demanded the return of his precious bird. The parrot’s captor retaliated, “You bid us do, do, do madly, with no play!” Others joined in, “He bid us do, do, do madly, he bid do madly, he bid do madly!” The captain, seemingly defeated, and aware that he would not have his parrot returned without some sort of concession offered one limbo party a week amongst the screams of, “He bid do madly!” Pacified, and in agreement with the captain’s offer, the crew revealed the parrot and offered him back to the captain, but during the exchange the parrot, peeved from being hidden under the smelliest crewman’s overcoat, promptly bit the captain in the eye (resulting in his need of an eye patch, believe it or not) and began mockingly tweeting, “He bid do madly, once a week, he bid do madly, once a week!” (Yes, there were parts of the former exchange missing, but as the sounds were somewhat muffled by the overcoat, it is understandable.) Knowing that the captain was likely to retract his offer, one pirate, smarter than most, decided he wanted a written contract and prepared one as such. In need of describing the terms of the contract, most notably how often the limbo parties were to be allowed, the pirate heeded the caws of the parrot, and noted that they would occur ‘he bid do madly’, or weekly. Not the best speller, and with advice from a slew of pirates who thought they knew best, ‘he bid do madly’ became hebdomadally, and a a new word was born on the high seas.
So, who limns a hemidemisemiquaver hebdomadally? Well, a limbo dancing pirate once a week, of course! But, what about that word, limn? What does it really mean? Oh, how I’ve tried to paint a picture of these words for you. Can you see it? If you can’t, just close you eyes, see the letters, see the words, see the pictures they create in your mind. There. You did it. And, I’m exhausted. Been limning a story for a couple hours now, and I must admit I’m a bit thirsty. Perhaps, a tall, frosted glass of pulpy, iced limn-ade on my lips would quench my thirst? And prevent scurvy to boot.
P.S. The words limn and hebdomadal were received from the word of the day at http://twitter.com/thewordoftheday/ via http://www.spanglegluppet.com/ and the word hemidemisemiquaver was received from the word of the day at http://twitter.com/wordnik/ via http://www.wordnik.com/ between 10 and 11 January 2010. The words at spanglegluppet are really interesting and rare. I do not find them on any of my other word of the day lists. I use Feed My Inbox to get them forwarded to my email. Wordnik is one of my very favorite sites and allows users to see all the linguistic properties of a word such as definitions, examples, and etymology. In addition, you can create a profile, favorite words, add new words, and even post relative pictures.