Friday, September 26, 2014

Venting Sanitary in the classroom

During the eighteen months or so that I worked on the Historic Ships in Baltimore, my favorite assignment was USS 423, the submarine Torsk.  I do love the Constellation, but since my interest in military history is all 20th century stuff, Constellation is pretty much a giant piece of floating furniture.

I had the very good fortune to work with a man who'd been in submarine service and was obsessed with subs and their history. He was a very good resource for actual information (much of which the museum's management did not know) and interesting stories about submerged life.

My favorite little fact is that, at least on Tench-class submarines (of which Torsk is one), the sanitary tank can be blown or vented through the boat's horn.  Let me make that blunt: you can clean the shit tanks by blowing their contents out of the horn.  My esteemed colleague always followed this tidbit of information with the tagline "Now that's a shitty sound!"

In the past week I have discovered the latest teenage "thing."  Remember how "hella" used to be the thing to say? At least, if you're either a teenager, really ghetto, or live surrounded by teenagers? (If you don't, it's a superlative.  Pizza is hella good, that test is hella hard.)

"Hella" is verba non grata these days.  Now it's "shitta."  Which, I suppose, raises the concept a notch or two since "shit" is a naughtier word than "hell," but unfortunately it sounds even more idiotic--mostly because it sounds like you're saying "shitty."  So, when discussing shoes (an eternal touchstone in the eye of the American teenager), one might compliment a friend by saying "He got shitta shoes."  To the casual observer over seventeen, however, it sounds like the speaker is making a reference to either the cleanliness or the quality of the shoes in question.  I wouldn't find it flattering if someone told me I had shitty shoes--I'd try to remember if I'd just walked across the median on Monument Avenue, which does tend to be a dogshit minefield.

I predict that the next logical development will be "fucka" except that's already in use. Still it will need to happen, so the linguistics of the Clearasil set are apt to become very interesting in the next year or two. 

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Thanks! Now, go get a drink, sit down and enjoy the show.