Sunday, January 24, 2010

Je Te Plumerai

Here's my advice: If you're going to throw out your back on a Saturday afternoon, do it while engaged in some really butch activity like sawing up a downed tree for firewood. At any rate, don't do it the way I did -- preparing to saw up a downed tree for firewood. Swear to Christ: Got my chainsaw out of the back of the truck, walked it over to the apron of the garage to prep the saw -- chain oil, gas, chain tension adjustment -- put it down on the concrete, and blip went something in the Jingo sacroiliac.

Now I'm walking -- when I walk at all -- all hunched over like a ninety-year-old. It hurts even just to exist, let alone try to lead a normal life.

At least today there's good football to sit and suffer in front of.

In completely unrelated news, it has come to my attention that a childhood earworm song is, when more closely examined, deeply, deeply weird. I have hummed, whistled, and endured the torments of the damned to the melody of the voyageur signature tune "Alouette" since approximately the age of three. Only now, in my 49th year on this planet, have I actually bothered to look up the meaning of the French lyric. I think I'd always assumed that "Alouette" was a woman's name. I couldn't have been more wrong:

Alouette, gentille Alouette
Alouette, je te plumerai

Je te plumerai la tête
Je te plumerai la tête
Et la tête - et la tête
Alouette - Alouette

An "alouette" is a skylark, a bird. Once considered a game-bird, if Wikipedia is to be trusted. That is, something that is eaten after being shot.

"Plumerai": first person future tense of "plumer" -- to pluck. "Je te plumerai la tête," then, may be rendered something akin to "I will pluck the feathers out of your head."

The song then goes on to describe other actions the singer intends to perform on the "gentille" skylark: "I will pluck the feathers out of your beak [huh?], I will pluck the feathers out of your neck, your back," and so on.

I know, I know, autres temps, autres moeurs, I get it, but Jeee-zis! You've got a bird that you've just caught, you're gonna make dinner out of it, and you sit down before you slaughter the thing and describe to it, in direct address and in gory detail, the order in which you are going to dismember its plumage.

And we teach this song to our kids!

Sorry if I just earwormed you. But the story must be told!


giggles said...

Funny...I was just discussing this exact song (and it's meaning) with my kids....12,10,8... (What's in the air or the water!?)

EmployeeoftheMonth said...

My French Canadian grandparents and my mom would sing this around the campfire when we were little. Of course they told us what the song was about. yewwww.

Sunny Jim said...

Take it from one who's been down that crawly, creaky-assed, Backpain Road: You need a trustworthy chiropractor - about 6
or 8 times a year - and hopefully this won't happen again. Good luck.

davidspeller said...

And what did we name our football team?

Kevin Wolf said...

I think I prefer Johnny Mercer's take on the skylark, thankyouverymuch.

WV: extruped - Is this what happened to your back, Ned?

Red said...

Un, deux, Freddy vient après que vous...

noblesavage said...

Man, that's the Barney theme next to what the French sing every time they want to feel all national:

Here's a taste from the top-

"Listen to the sound in the fields
The howling of these fearsome soldiers
They are coming into our midst
To cut the throats of your sons and consorts

"To arms citizens Form your battalions
March, march
Let impure blood
Water our furrows"

Makes the tortured question we use to greet ball games (Does that star-bangled banner yet wave?) seem like a really good idea.