Topical Guide 150
Drinking: Cocktails, The Shirley Temple
Clarissa’s father asked me what I would like to drink. Everything seemed so urbane that I thought he was actually asking me what kind of cocktail I would like. “Oh, nothing for me, thank you,” I said, not so much because I thought that I shouldn’t drink a cocktail, but because I was trying to be polite, and I knew that one of the rules of polite behavior was to refuse everything the first time it was offered. He asked Clarissa what she would like. She looked as if she were considering a long list of drinks and then finally said, “I’ll have a Shirley Temple.”
“All right,” said her father. “Sure you wouldn’t like something, Peter?”
“You know,” I said, thrusting my hands into my pockets, “I guess I could use a Shirley Temple.”
Little Follies, “The Girl with the White Fur Muff”
The iconic child star Shirley Temple died on Feb. 10, 2014, but she leaves an indelible legacy — not only in the movies in which she starred and the places where she later served as a U.S. ambassador, but also at bars and restaurants around around the world, in the form of the mix of grenadine syrup and soda that bears her name.
But how did the drink — perhaps the most famous non-alcoholic cocktail ever — come to be associated with the actress?
The exact source of the name is a bit of a mystery, but most stories agree on the reason, which is obvious: the young starlet was out at a restaurant and needed something non-alcoholic to drink. Reportedly, Temple was “whining” over her parents sipping old-fashioneds, which also come with their offshoot’s signature maraschino cherry, and so the waitstaff mixed up a teetotal version for her. (Some recollections have the drink being first mixed at the Hollywood eatery Chasen’s, while others say it was the Brown Derby restaurant, also in Hollywood; the Royal Hawaiian Hotel has also said that their bartenders came up with the cocktail.)
1 1/4 ounces grenadine
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
3 ounces club soda
2 maraschino cherries
Place the grenadine, lemon juice, and lime juice in a tall glass and stir with a cocktail spoon or straw until combined.
Fill the glass with ice and top with the club soda. Stir gently to combine.
Garnish with the maraschino cherries and serve immediately.
Humor: Shaggy Dog Story: The Three Rabbits; Pun: Extended or Epic Pun
I borrowed my mother’s highest praise for someone else’s cooking. “You must give me the recipe for these mashed potatoes,” I said. This brought down the house, and Mr. Bud said, “You’re a regular comedian, Peter.”
So I attempted to tell a joke. I began while Mrs. Bud and Clarissa were clearing away the dinner plates and serving dessert. As soon as I had introduced the main characters, three rabbits called Phhht, Phhht-Phhht, and Phhht-Phhht-Phhht, just at the moment when I had succeeded in capturing everyone’s attention, I realized that I had forgotten the punch line.
Little Follies, “The Girl with the White Fur Muff”
By a shaggy-dog story we commonly mean a hugely embellished, often rambling tale that ends either in a deflating anticlimax or with an atrocious pun. …
An early example described as a shaggy-dog story appeared in the Ogden Standard Examiner of Utah on 23 November 1942. It featured a dog trainer, long out of work, who finally got a chance to present his act to an agent. [Note: The teller should stretch this part of the joke with meaningless details until the audience begins to squirm. —MD] His two dogs outdid themselves in energetic cavorting [insert more streching-out, and plenty of it —MD] but the agent just grunted:
Finally the little dog spoke up and said, “Well, fellow, how about giving us a break and booking our act?”
The agent sprang to his feet. “My God!” he said, “did that little dog talk?”
“No,” said the discouraged trainer, “the big dog is a ventriloquist. Here, Spot, let’s get the hell out of here, no one appreciates a trained dog act anymore.”
(If the story had stopped at ventriloquist, it would have been much funnier; it’s the thumping anticlimax of the final sentence that makes it a shaggy-dog story.)
There are many candidates for the original shaggy-dog story. William and Mary Morris, in The Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, give a version of it that involves an advertisement being placed in The Times to announce a competition to find the shaggiest dog in the world. After a vast amount of effort and investigation (described in detail, after the nature of this type of story), the winning dog was presented to the aristocratic instigator of the competition, who said: “I don’t think he’s so shaggy”.
Eric Partridge gives another version as the original. A grand householder in Park Lane, London, had the great misfortune to lose a very valuable and rather shaggy dog. He advertised repeatedly in The Times, but without luck, and eventually he gave up hope. But an American in New York saw the advertisement, was touched by the man’s devotion, and took great trouble to seek out a dog that matched the specification in the advertisement and which he could bring over to London on his next business trip. He presented himself in due course at the owner’s impressive house, where he was received in the householder’s absence by an even more impressive butler, who glanced at the dog, bowed, winced almost imperceptibly and exclaimed, in a horror-stricken voice, “But not so shaggy as that, sir!”
Michael Quinion, “Shaggy-dog story,” on World Wide Words
Wielded by anyone but a true master, a pun is the lowest form of humor. However, wielded by a master, a pun is the highest, purest form of humor possible by humans.
Puns are a dark art, much like necromancy. Raising the dead will get you killed. Raising a pun with your killer sense of humor will get you killed, making it a grave mistake, even if you were dead serious.
Puns can be categorized into the following:
• One Liners
• Micro-Liners: Made in only a few words, these can only be wielded by true pun masters (Think word-within-a-word)
• Epics: This is the most evil form of pun magic. [S]omeone finds a basic enough pun, then creates an incredibly detailed background for it, taking as much as hours to read, then ending it with the most basic one-liner or even micro-liner. The key to these is to find a pun that is the easiest to set up, then just drag it out as intricately as possible to create a story that feels like it will have an incredible ending, but ends with a three-word micro-liner.
Have you missed an episode or two or several?
At Apple Books you can download free eBooks of “My Mother Takes a Tumble,” “Do Clams Bite?,” “Life on the Bolotomy,” “The Static of the Spheres,” and “The Fox and the Clam,” the first five novellas in Little Follies.
You’ll find an overview of the entire work in An Introduction to The Personal History, Adventures, Experiences & Observations of Peter Leroy. It’s a pdf document.