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mark wood

by Mark Wood

Dis & Dat

Wherein our hero mangles the english language to our mutual benefit.

Smokin Joe stoked the stove methodically, choosing each junk of wood as if it were a fine cuban cigar in celebration of yet another fryday night. All the while he basked in the company of the usual hangers-on, misfits, neer-dowells and geniuseses. He stepped outside in the cold, crisp, winter night to relieve himself (as gentlemen often do, especially those that jrink) and could smell each different piece burning in the stove while he pissed away five flavors of homebrew in the snow. The deep, coarse note of black spruce smoke drifted over the roof of the shed, lifted by a sweet, high, juniper scent. All of it held together with cherry, the most fragrant, vagrant of the woods. His initials still steamed in the snow as he thought deep thoughts and was struck with an epiphany of sorts. Luckily it was a harmless notion but powerful enough to challenge the boundaries of speech as we know it and twist it to suit his jovial needs. He realized that the slang term “dis” as an accepted abbreviation of “disrespect” only strengthened the prefix and any word associated with it would suffer his definition. He staggered into the shed and announced to no one in particular, “To have a dislocated shoulder is disrespecting the location of a shoulder.” A hush fell over the b’ys, save for the roaring stove. “A disease,” he continued, “is a show of disrespect to ones ease.” The b’ys murmured amongst themselves until Jimmy Two Fires summoned enough courage to add to the conversation. “Would a discovery be a problem for something that was covered?” “Yes!” freaked SJ. “ As if suddenly gripped by a command of the language JTF blasted away, “What about a discombubulation?” A gasp went up from the inarticulate crowd. “It would contravene the many and varied combubulative aplications.” offered His Smoked and Joeness. The notion singed hair under many a ball cap like unto a free flame jumping from tree top to tree top. Black spruce to juniper to cherry to birch to snotty var. Every possible variation of the theme was smacked around and debated down to the smallest detail. They likened an ancient carriage house from hundreds of years ago and spake the language (before dictionaries were commonplace) while Yeats and Dickens spun in their graves at a great rate for wont of inclusion.

Our words may live on honorifically in print but our initials in the snow hang frozen in time for a long while too. In a few months on a warm spring afternoon the last of the drops will finally touch the ground and fade away, along with this evenings epiphany, our memories, and our fun. And later on that foolish evening amongst all the calligraphy in the snowbank, writ large in rented homebrew was the word dis, which somehow seemed appropriate. Smokin Joe and Jimmy Two Fires: the movie? I highly doubt it, they’re too elusive.

ps. I wrote this in the snow.

Mark is also a regular columnist with The Independent (.ca) newspaper.