The real skinny on 'shimmy' vs. 'shinny'
An Associated Press caption in the Swayback Daily Kick read: “Children shimmy up the barrels of massive cannons on the upper decks of the 100-year-old Battleship Texas.”
“The children might be able to shinny up a cannon barrel,” said Don Mashburn of Oklahoma City, “but if they tried to shimmy at the same time, they could get hurt. Please see if Buck can take the shimmy out of shinnying, or try to cure the AP writer's word wobble.”
Buck will try, Don, but don't bet he'll succeed. He's still trying to teach folks to home in, instead of hone in, on a target, and to walk the strait and narrow instead of the straight and narrow path to salvation.
A shimmy is an abnormal vibration or wobbling. It is also the name of a dance popular during the Roaring Twenties, when flappers shook their bodies vigorously on the dance floor.
To shinny is to climb a tree or pole by alternately using the arms and the legs to grab it.
The original verb is “to shin,” which refers to the part of the leg between the ankle and the knee.
Miss Hattie June Harkabus can still shimmy after she's had a drink of Sonny Boy Ready's top-shelf white lightning. Uncle Hadacol took Matilda, his Studebaker pickup, to Curly's Soonerco, where Floyd tried to eliminate the shimmy in its front end.
“You can't trust Uncle Hadacol's coon dog, Elmer,” said Homer.
“I shinnied up a tree to try to shake a coon down, but turns out Elmer had treed Inez Pumpernickle's tabby cat.”
Send questions for Buck to Gene Owens, 104 Belspring Lane, Anderson, SC 29621, or e-mail him at BucksEnglish@aol.com. Please let Buck know what town you're from.
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