In a classic toMAtoe v toMAWto game, the locals in Champiagn, Illinois apparently call this river "EM-brah" even though the origin of the river's name came from the French explorers who found it to be an obstacle for their further exploration in the area. Which, fellow wordsmiths, is the same origin as the more common use of the word "embarrass" (ěm-bār'əs). Those clever civil engineers - and who could blame them? - didn't want their favorite fishing hole to be pronounced, even though it was already named as such, after the same thing as when you get toilet paper stuck to your shoe.
The written and spoken word can be so fragile.
In junior high school I had classmates named Mike Hunt and Richard Head. While they may be titans of industry now, for pubescent 14 year olds, their names were fodder for endless jokes, giggles and ridicule. So I heard anyway.
But I digress....
Kindly reader Squared Off over the UK sent me a web site that helps us American blokes understand the Queen's vernacular and to demystify some of it's slang. Who would have known when I used "arse" intending it as a less offensive sounding replacement for "ass", that in the UK, arse is more edgy than ass?
Everybody enjoying this high brow topic so far? Let's continue.
Embarrassment has a meaning in virtually every language. From the tribal chief who burns his headdress in the fire, to the New Delhi businessman with his zipper down (XYZ PDQ, dude!) to the Canadian Mountie with a booger frozen to his face during a traffic stop, it is safe to say we have all shown our ass over something. Then there is this guy.
Jerome Kerviel allegedly hacked into his employer's computers, France's 2nd largest bank, Societe Generale on his way to committing a $73.5 Billion trading fraud. That is more than the entire bank was worth to begin with and equal to the GDP of Libya. You go boy. The best thing his friends could say about him was that he opened the door for old people. Really? Note: If that is the best thing your friends say about you, then perhaps a little more effort is needed on your part, eh? The bank, with proverbial bare ass showing, suggested that Kerviel did not mean to profit from the trade. Note again: the deeper your head is buried in the sand of denial, the higher you bare ass is showing to the rest of the world.
And unlike embarrassing yourself by wearing a lampshade on your head at a New Year's party among a small group of friends, young Jerome and Societe Generale showed their ass way up high where everyone can see it.