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Avarice, Anger, Sloth, Gluttony, Secrecy, Mink and Palmer

So Your Humble Blogger was washing dishes, as happens not infrequently, and as a not infrequent mental accompaniment to the dishwashing, was composing a possible note for this Tohu Bohu. It was a Days of Awe note, full of that combination of insight and whimsy—well, anyway. I had come to that part of the bit where I list the Seven Deadly sins, and I was preparing to slip in a reference to the great Woody Allen Vodka Ad bit and sneak in the Seven Dwarfs instead.

Or, rather, do that other bit I do, where I start out with the Disney Canonical Seven Dwarfs and end up off track a bit. It’s surprising how often I get a chance to do it, although of course the ability and willingness to rattle off the names of the Seven Dwarves does tend to skew conversations into paths that give one the opportunity to show off such an ability, just as, I imagine, people who do not know the first ten digits of pi rarely find themselves in conversations where one might be able to slip those numerals in to great effect.

Anyway, as I say, what I actually do is not name the Seven Dwarfs but (and this is a tone of voice thing, so you have to imagine YHB doing it deadpan and with total confidence) instead list off Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey, Sleazy, Jumpy and Mike. It’s the Mike that amuses me so. I mean, the rhythm of the actual last three (Sneezy, Bashful and Doc) is so great, and Mike is (to my ears) just the right distance from Doc—not so close that you think it’s correct, and not so far off that it makes no sense. And I love the idea that everybody gets a descriptive name and one guy is just named Mike. Or that somebody (notionally YHB) really believes that one of them is called Mike.

Actually, the whole thing started when I lived in Ess Eff and I had a good friend who worked for a law firm (cum lobbying firm) I referred to as Thelen, Marrin, Johnson, Bridges, Sleazy, Jumpy and Mike. All those trochees. They are now just Thelen LLP, presumably because after all the mergers they blew the trochee thing, being at that point Thelen, Marrin, Johnson, Bridges, Reid, Priest, Berlack, Israels, Liberman, Pinsent and Masons. Which is a trifle unwieldy, and you can see why they went with the short version. The short, unfunny version. Not that law firms really need to think about maximizing the hilarity potential of their corporate identity.

But the hilarity potential of misnaming the Seven Dwarfs is clearly something that does require serious thought here in this Tohu Bohu. Because, frankly, I am not altogether satisfied. For one thing, I have long thought that substituting sleazy for sneezy is a bit obvious, a bit adolescent. Not unfunny, and I think it is important for the first not-quite-correct name to be very close, which that does accomplish. But better can be achieved, I think. Perhaps with incongruity: something like Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Jumpy, Lefty and Mike. Or going further afield: Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey, Lefty, One-Eye and Mike. I do like the idea of one of the dwarfs being called One-Eye, as a reference to an obscure David Edgar play called Ball Boys I am very fond of, and the combination of Lefty and One-Eye to me sounds very English-thug, which is a good combination with Disney Dwarfs, but then Mike is no longer funny, being neither a Dwarf of a Goon. Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey, Lefty, One-Eye and Spike? Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey, Lefty, One-Eye and Jock? Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey, Lefty, One-Eye and Brick? Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy, Dopey, Duffy, Solly and MacClanahan?

Yes, this is the sort of thing Your Humble Blogger spends a lot of time thinking about.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Hmm. Lefty, One-Eye, and Tom? On the theory that "dwarves, a couple of thugs, and that random guy" is funny, and the problem is just that Mike doesn't scan with One-Eye. (I don't know that i buy this theory.) Jokes by committee are hard.

I actually opened this box to say that one of the things i love about reading your blog is the cadence of the humor. It's probably okay (well, certainly, okay with me) if you have to work at it.

What bothers me most is that you and I waste a lot of time thinking about the same sort of crap, but you're funnier than I am. I could just scream.

It is, I think, endemic of the problems inherent in our legal systems that law firms are not required to maximize their names' hilarity potential.


Mike is no longer funny, being neither a Dwarf or a Goon.

Piffle! Mike is especially funny, being neither Dwarf nor Goon (and, on top of that, not quite scanning). I like this one the best -- it's the gradual decay of the trite into the first joke (goons) and on into incongruity that does it for me.

Did you remember the bit where analyzing the joke kills it?

It's not really a joke so much as a routine...

Belatedly wanted to note that I always get a juvenile kick out of misnaming two of the Dwarves as Sleazy and Gropey.

Even more belatedly: Did you ever encounter Maynard Moose Tales back at our Alma Mater? Punzel And The Seven Dwarfs includes Grumpy, Sleepy, Bashful, Arthur, Winkin, Blinkin, Rudolph, Fred, and Samuel, aka The Eight Or Nine Seven Dwarfs.

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