West Bay, 29 November 1997
It's just a word, isn't it? ... A Pontification on Poop ...
When I began over a year ago, to offer my own observations, opinions, and
outlooks on life in Cayman via this medium, I chose to call it
and to refer to myself as the
West Bay Wench.
Early on, I defined
so as to defuse any negative connotations that word might engender.
Since then, I have had only one objection to the use of wench;
however, I also now have had an objection registered to the use of the word
Returning to my faithful World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary,
I came upon several definitions of poop
that I thought might be of interest to you.
Poop¹ has four definitions, two
each as a noun and as a verb, all having to do with ships.
The first of the former defines poop as a
"deck at the stern above the ordinary deck, often forming the roof of
a cabin." Now if you followed that and have a clear mental picture on the
first run-through, my hat (tricorn, of course!) goes off to you. If you're not
quite sure you've got it, re-read it a time or two, look at some pictures of
sailing vessels, and I'm sure you'll get the idea. A useful bit of maritime
architectural information and certainly applicable to pirates, but not what
I had in mind when I selected the name.
The second definition of the noun poop is merely
"the stern of a ship."
Very straightforward, easy to understand, and also applicable to pirates,
but also not the definition I had in mind.
Moving on to verbs, we find usage #1 "(of a wave) to break over the stern
of (a ship): The frigate was pooped by a tremendous sea
Try coming out with that statement at your next social event!
I guarantee it as a conversation stopper. Usage #2 is identical to usage
#1, as near as I can tell: "(of a ship) to receive (a wave) over the
stern." Am I missing something here? At any rate, neither meaning is what
I intended to convey.
Poop² is categorized as "slang" meaning "to become
exhausted; be worn out, as by overexertion, etc." I'm not quite sure what
they mean by the "etc." and I'm not asking. Regardless, I did not intend
to refer to worn out pirates when I named this collection of recollections
and reprises, although you may indeed be of the opinion that they are
tired! (Everyone is, after all, entitled to his own opinion - just keep it
And finally we arrive at poop³.
They do say three's the charm, don't they! This definition is designated
as "U.S. slang," and is not to be confused with the ordinary slang usage
mentioned above. (You know, this may be why my critic missed the point; I
believe she was Canadian.) But I regress, or is that digress? THE
definition is as follows:
"information; gossip ... ".
You see? Now THAT is EXACTLY what I had in mind!
(And what I hope I am providing through my literary efforts.)
I would hasten to point out that NOWHERE in my dictionary, at least, is
there a definition for what my critic said the word brought to mind. I
leave THAT to your imagination in the event that you are of a like and less
than clean mind. Of course it does help to be using a 1963 edition of the
Be sure to check in next month, when I'll once again be sharing the latest
from Cayman - and we're not talking ship decks! Or maybe we will be.
Join us if you can!