Monday, January 16, 2006
Don’t Lift the Van with your Brother
Saturday, I had to fix a flat tire on our van. Luke was my little helper. "What's this thing?", he asked.
It struck me as funny that one of his little brothers has the same name as what we use to lift up the van and the very act of lifting it too. It made me thing of all the Jacks out there.
After the definition that correspondsons to my son (nickname for John), Webster's says that one obsolete definition of Jack was a common fellow or boy assistant.
So there are 'jacks' that are handy: jack-of-all-trades, a lumberjack, a crackerjack, jackeroo, steeplejack, a bootjack (not to be confused with a jackboot), a smokejack, and the jack knife (the dive of the same name and what you don't want an 18-wheeler to do on the interstate comes from the looking like the knife). Then there's the telephone jack, electrical jacks, jack-nuts, the jackscrew, the aforementioned automobile jack, the hydraulic jack, stabilizing jacks, the pneumatic jack and the portable version of that: the jack hammer.
There are 'jacks' from my childhood: Jack who went up the hill with Jill, Jack Sprat, little Jack Horner, Jack be nimble, the house that Jack Built, Jack and the bean stalk and the other Jack Tales. There's jack-o'-lantern, jack-in-the-box, the game jacks, and jumping jacks (bringing back bad memories of PE at Sandersvile elementary).
There are food 'jacks': Monterry Jack cheese, flapjacks (some people I hear call them slapjacks), Hungry Jack (gobble them up and plate comes back), Apple Jacks (cinnamon toasty apple jacks), and Cracker Jacks.
There are animal kingdom 'jacks': a Jack Russell Terrier, a jackass (not the derogratory fool but the donkey), the jack rabbit, jackdaw, jacksnipe, jackfish, jacksmelt, amberjack, skipjack and Jack Hanna.
There are plant kingdom 'jacks': a jack pine, a bluejack oak, jackfruit, jack bean, jack-in-the-pulpit, and supplejack.
There are 'jacks' of the gaming industry: the face card jack, blackjack, and a jackpot.
There are nautical 'jacks': a jackstay, jack (as in a reference to a sailor, sometimes called jack-tar) and Skipjack boats
You have flag 'jacks': the Union Jack, and the yellow jack.
There's not so honest 'jacks': hijack (or highjack), skyjack, carjack, web-jacked, cheapjack and 'to jack up prices'.
There are famous and infamous 'Jacks': Jack Kennedy, Jack Kemp, Jack the Ripper (not exactly who you want your son to emulate), Jack London, C.S. Lewis (nicknamed Jack), Jack Kerouac, Orangejack, Jack Anderson, Jack Roosevelt Robinson (better known as Jackie Robinson), Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Jack Nicklaus, Jack Nicholson, Jack Klugman, Agent Jack Bauer of 24, Jack the frontloader, Jack Benny, Jack Lemmon, Jack La Lanne, Wolfman Jack, Jack Black and Black Jack Pershing.
There are phrases with 'jack': Jack Frost, 'every man jack', 'before you could say Jack Robinson', and 'you don't know Jack Squat'.
But the best is the one that Luke and his friend Maegan can hold...