Thursday, February 19, 2009

A useful distinction

The following quote tickles my inner biology major.  Anyone without an inner biology major can skip to the last post.

"Before this paper continues, I must defend my use of the word 'crap.'  'Scat' is a fine word, real fine, when you discover it in a quaint sylvan setting, nestled among ferns and hickory seedlings.  Everyone wants to touch it, and pick it apart, and postulate on the dietary habits of its owner.  There is a wholesomeness about scat, a fawn-like innocence.  Stepping in scat is a rustic luxury, and you don't spent hours sitting on the front stoop, picking it out of your sneaker with a housekey.  There are definite ways to tell crap from scat.  When it's made by a deer, or a woodchuck, or a satyr, or a wood nymph, it's scat.  When you find it in a massive pile in the hallway, thoughtfully deposited by your neighbor's dog (or your neighbor), it's crap.  When it's composed of seeds and nutshells and bark and grasses and moonbeams and fairy dust, it's scat.  When it's composed of horsemeat by-products and sodium propionate and BHA and BHT and potassium sorbate and leftover ravioli, it's crap, plain and simple."

—excerpt from a paper by Mark A. Koplik, 1982.

Mark, whoever you are and if you ever read this, thank you for the many laughs I've had over your writing.