Mr. A: “Fancy a Don Revie?”
Mr. B: “Yea, a cheeky salmon and trout at the rubber might be good… No time for a rabbit, though. I’ve got to be home to wait for the dog and bone.”
Mr. A: “Fancy, a beverage (bevvy -> Don Revie)?”
Mr. B: “Yes, a cheeky stout (-> salmon and trout) at the pub (rub-a-dub -> rubber) might be good. No time for a talk (rabbit and pork -> rabbit), though. I’ve got to be home to wait for the phone (-> dog and bone).”)
No, sir. I’ve only had HALF the bottle of Bombay Sapphire and am therefore not drunk. I am merely introducing these lovely people to Cockney rhymes. Yes, it’s mid-morning Saturday in Austral-Asia, Friday night in the Americas, and probably a perfectly acceptable time to drink in Europe also. So here I sit with a gin in hand and computer before me to talk to you about the ambrosia of the unwashed.
Interestingly enough, our word for alcohol is believed to have come from the Arabic word al kuhul. (Arabic countries and alcohol? You are right to laugh.) However, al kuhul was originally a make up. Its path to modern usage was walked thusly: comfortably up-right as “make-up” -> a bit wobbly as “any sublimated substance/liquid” -> let’s get kebabs! as “liquor” in 1753. Most Commonwealth countries affectionately call alcohol “piss”. As you clever little possums can probably deduce it comes from the somewhat diarrhetic effect of alcohol. Although the plot thickens as our verb “piss” comes from pissiare the vulgar French verb whose meaning is the same as its English love-child. One French word that derives from pissiare has nothing to do with alcohol, but dandelions. To be more specific, dandelion tea. Dandelion tea was loved by French mothers of old for its calming effects on their enfants before bed. Rather unfortunately, it was later found to be renowned for its bladder evacuation properties and was henceforth affectionately known as pissenlit (“piss in bed”).
Speaking of flowers, let’s assume you’ve spent a pleasant night out. Nobody in your gaggle of drinking companions was fagged (antiquated English for “beaten”) and nobody drank so much that they left a fartleberry (Victorian English slang for “a fart with follow through”). Nonetheless, you still drank far too much and you have been cursed with a pimple to chastise you and your penchant for rambunctiousness. Said pimple caused by drinking would have been referred to as a “grog blossom” in the Victorian era.
Away from flowers and onto animals. How drunk would you say you are? One hare? Perhaps 10 hares? Ancient Aztecs have a great party story about how one goddess of a certain alcohol gave birth to 400 hares. Therefore, it was somehow decided (perhaps by aforementioned grog goddess ) that drunkenness should be measured in rabbits. Aiming for 15 rabbits was to be at the “comfortably toasted” level. 400 was you had probably just finished having a delightful conversation with a friend about what is wetter than water only to find that you were suddenly on a traffic island feeling markedly colder. To this day saying that you have 400 rabbits (cuatrocientos conejos in Spanish, Centzontotochtin in Aztec) in Mexico has the same connotation.
Again we find ourselves back onto rabbits. I hope our drinking session together has been enlightening. So GO FORTH and enjoy your kitchen sink (drink) as you may find yourself hugging it later.
By Blair (which rhymes with hare)