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Pirate POOP?
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from Northwest Point, West Bay
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
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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 Pirate Poop and to refer to myself as the West Bay Wench. Early on, I defined "wench" 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 poop.

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 (Frederick Marryat)." 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 to yourself!)

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 dictionary...

Be sure to check in next month, when I'll once again be sharing the latest poop from Cayman - and we're not talking ship decks! Or maybe we will be.

Who knows? Join us if you can!

Please send your comments and/or suggestions for future articles to the The wench apologizes that she really doesn't have enough time to answer personal requests for recommendations on where to stay and what to do in Cayman, but she does try to read all her email when time permits.

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Last update: 2 December 1997
Copyright © 1997 Don Backstrom
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