by Jotham Klein
Every Friday, the Punch Bowl allows any member of its staff to submit a column for the website. Today the staff troubadour, Jotham Klein, spun us this poem.
A PLATYPUS PLURAL PROBLEM
We, members of the platypus species, have
Made an observation
It is just a small matter which concerns
The whole platypus population
For the English language has created a conundrum
On forms of many or one
We don’t know to which source to turn
What ever, we ask, is to be done?
A proper term for the plural of our species
We cannot rectify
Are we platypuses –
Or are we platypi?
The dictionary has been equivocal
The encyclopedia was of no use
A mouse and a mouse become mice, of course
Geese are a grouping of goose
Then we found, when you plant two spruce trees nearby,
You will have two spruces
But when you have one moose and add another,
You do not end up with two mooses
It gets confusing, for a hypothesis and another
But a crisis and one more become crises,
Two buses are not two busi
So when it comes to us, I’m afraid
There is no clear solution
Is this just a lingual accident?
A mishap in elocution?
Or is it a problem of mammal hierarchy
Other “full-fledged” mammals getting a laugh?
We lay eggs, instead of giving full birth
Do you consider us only mammals-by-half?
And if so, we find you humans to be very rude
And dirty with your vernacular spite
This is not the way to make friends with the animals
Do two wrongs make a right?
But if this is all a big misunderstanding
We humbly apologize and look for solutions
But if you are making fun of us, after all
Prepare for your coming executions.