Bear with me. You’ll have to read this entire blog to determine what my druthers have to do with Pinocchio – because obviously they aren’t directly related. Perhaps this makes sense to me only because I’m the one that has occasional rainstorms in my brain. However, let’s start with a basic premise. What is a druther?
You’ve heard people say it all your lives. “If I had my druthers…..” followed by something you really want to do or not do. I may or may not have written about it previously – but frankly it needs to be stated again even as the fog over my thoughts lifts this morning. Believe it or not, “druthers” is one of those true American words that came out of the late 19th Century. I know that you were thinking that it may have been one of those snooty European words that we Americans have since bastardized…. but no, druthers is actually a word that we have bastardized from another AMERICAN word. We’ve bastardized our bastardization! Only in America.
Basically, “druthers” is a shortening of the phrase “would rather”. According to the meaning I found, it was first cited in the 1876 book “Dialect Notes”. This, ladies and gentlemen, is that quote:
“”Bein’s I caint have my druthers an’ set still, I cal’late I’d better pearten up an’ go ‘long.”
If anyone can translate that to good ole American 2015 speak, I would appreciate it because frankly I have no idea what our 19th Century forefathers were trying to say. But that’s where druthers come from. Now you know.
On to Pinocchio. I may, just may, have a slight phobia of Pinocchio. I never knew this before, my family didn’t know, my dogs didn’t even know…. it was a hidden phobia that only my rain-soaked brain knew in its deep dark recess of memories.
How did I find out about this? I was watching TV the other night peacefully minding my own business. A commercial for an insurance company came on featuring our little cedar boy. I’ve seen this commercial a million times and fast forwarded through it a million times, but this time it was different. I watched the jerky movements. I watched the nose growing. And suddenly I was besotten with fear. All those repressed memories of Pinocchio came flooding back and I was stunned.
It all started when my parents dragged me to the movies when I was a wee lad to watch the Disney classic ‘Pinocchio’. I don’t remember what it was then, and I don’t remember what it was now, but there was something about that stupid plank of a boy that scared the beejeebers out of me. How he moved, the high squeaky voice, his little shoes, everything. Creeped. Me. Out. But I repressed it then and went on to live a semi-normal life seeing the tiny fella frequently and never batted one splinter of an eyelash his way. Until the other night watching TV.
I never had any inkling that I was a Pinocchiophobe. Other puppets don’t scare me. Other wooden objects don’t scare me. I can stare the crap out of a wooden table all the live long day and I don’t get any feelings from it. Trees don’t bother me in the least, except when they’re taking forever to drop their stupid leaves in the fall – but I certainly don’t shrink in fear when I see a Loblolly Pine. It’s just Pinocchio and only Pinocchio. I’m as scared of this hidden revelation as much as you are.
So what did I do when I felt this fear coming over me while I watched TV that night? I turned to my 16-year old son and said:
“If I had my druthers, I’d never have to see Pinocchio again.”
And druthers I will have.