The logophile

Posted on October 29, 2007


I was sick on Thursday, so on Friday night I compelled Spaz to accompany me to a party thrown by the little brother of a friend in Heliopolis. After labyrinthine searches we arrived at his aparment to find the average age of the attendees to be 21 or so. On seeing this Spaz sprinted to get a drink with a speed unmatched by most land mammals while I tried to avoid being seen by a co-worker I heartily dislike. Comfortably bedrinked, we hung out with our host, Medical Fetus, who was pointing out to me a guy that he wanted to hook me up with. The guy had a face like a fish.
“He’d have to be extraordinarily cool to look like that,” said Spaz.
“Well…he’s a lawyer. From California!” enthused Medical Fetus.
“I guess that’s pretty good,” I said. “He does have hair. And the California bar is really hard to pass.”
“Interesting,” Spaz said.
“And like you he didn’t like it and moved back to Egypt,” Medical Fetus continued.
“Shall I take you over there and introduce you?” he said encouragingly.
“Hell no! Can you not try and do something with that guy sitting on his right? Sorry, I’m really superficial.” Later on Spaz and I were sitting on the balcony glaring disapprovingly at a group of raucous Egyptian-American teens to our left, when Fishface walked up to us all nonchalant with hand extended: “I don’t think we’ve met.” We introduced ourselves and then he proceeded to fully ignore Spaz and fired a large series of questions at me, ultimately exclaiming, “Oh! Medical Fetus has told me so much about you! So you’re the one!” Spaz gave an inner snort at this pathetic dissembling which was telepathically conveyed to me, and excused herself. He took her seat. I pointed out to him that he had ignored her which wasn’t nice and he said he’d fix it “when she got back”. We chatted for a while and I happened to use the word “uncouth”, and he asked me what it meant.
And it was all over from there. I made excuses and walked away (well it was true that I simply could not sustain the repeated squealing coming from the shitfaced freshmen on my left). Later in the evening I recounted the experience to Dreamy Brown Man and the Geezer, who showed up at the party in search of ladies, probably.
“He didn’t know the word uncouth!” I said, hands outstretched in appeal.
Dreamy Brown Man merely scrunched up his face eloquently in agreement.
“Even I know that one like, ya git me?” said the Geezer.
“He also had a slot mouth.”
“No! Khalas then.”
“Yeah! You blatantly need lips.”
And so I didn’t speak to him again; as the party came to a close I found myself instead cornered by truly blasted North American Copts who persisted in kissing my hand – and Spaz’s hand too notwithstanding shabka diamonds and wedding rings – while saying things like “enchanté” without irony.

I told the story to M later. “…And he didn’t know the word ‘uncouth’!”
“Well, lots of people might have a good command of English but might not have come across that word.”
“He’s an American. A California lawyer!”
“Oh, no. He’s an idiot then,” said M firmly. “How can you go through law school and pass the California bar and not come across that word? Those 16th century cases? And without lips? No, that’s bedan.”
Spaz maintains that he just lied about his credentials. Another friend opined that the combination of the slot and the lack of knowledge of “uncouth” were an absolute bar, when combined with the California bar. He also agreed that an Egyptian had no business not having lips. Ah well. The cookies at that party were great.