I’ve been living here at Ava and Doug’s place for a week or so now. Their home is about two miles from downtown Hannibal.
The past few days I’ve been surveying the local area on my bicycle. One thing I like about Hannibal is that, due to the hilly terrain, isolated “pocket” neighborhoods abound. Typically there is just one entrance, and the far side of such a neighborhood is a creek, steep bluff, or a ravine.
One such neighborhood lies along the north slope of a quarried bluff which looms over the nearby animal shelter. Five mailboxes at the terminus of a gravel road indicate how many households likely are arrayed along that steep road. I was mightily intrigued by the name on the first mailbox: Slinkard.
What a name! It sounds so archaic, and it carries the negative connotation of the word “slink”. And the “tard” suffix! Generally, words which end in that suffix are negative. “drunkard”, “stinkard”, “retard”… can you think of any others? An imaginary bit of medieval invective bubbles to the surface of my mind: “Thou vile slinkard!”
“Slink” is an interesting word. Entities which slink or are slinky are usually up to no good. There is an implication of furtiveness, although cats while slinking in search of prey don’t seem to care who is watching.
“Slink” got a new lease on verbal life during the 1960s, when the Slinky toy was introduced by the Wham-O toy company. Who wasn’t charmed by the simulacrum of conscious intent when observing for the first time a Slinky sinuously stepping down a staircase! Slinkys were fun for a while but I suspect most had short lifetimes, victims of sibling squabbling. Once a Slinky suffers a bad kink its fate is sealed; the trashcan awaits.
Before concluding this short dispatch I’ll mention that the Wham-O company had an enormous effect on the idle youth of my generation. All through the late 1950s and the 1960s the innovative firm produced one incredibly cool toy after another. The Hula Hoop, the Super Ball, the Frisbee… I’ll write more about this company and its products after I’ve done some research. My curiosity is aroused!