Thursday, February 7, 2019

Tapping the Admiral


Given the date I will attempt to compare and contrast the distinction between a Bucket and a Keg with special reference to how to better conceptualize words and meaning. No word or words in particular, just any word you want, "presidential harassment" if you'd like to and by meaning I am using an understanding of Being as Meaning. The main difference between a bucket and a keg is that while both may contain something, odds are it's easier to see what a bucket contains. And when it comes to carting either type of container around the content of a keg is more likely not to spill out. And yet there's the illuminating story of Tapping the Admiral. When Horatio Nelson was killed at sea, instead of being tossed overboard which was the traditional lot of most sailors who died at sea, his body was placed in large keg of rum so that his remains could make it home without getting eaten by rats or whatever. When the keg was opened, Nelson's body was fairly well preserved, but the keg contained no rum. One argument presented was that because the seal on the keg of rum had been broken, sailors had had access to the rum and on the long sea voyage home they had succumbed to temptation and they had Tapped the Admiral.  Me, I blame the mortician in Portsmouth who opened the keg. Nonetheless, whoever you want to blame for taking the rum, kegs are not always as secure a depository for the meaning of a word as the casual observer might assume.

At the same time it was untoward behavior that Tapped the Admiral, and in the process changed the meaning contained within the Admiral's Keg. With buckets, stuff can easily spill out and when it does the spillage is usually unrelated to deliberate behavior but not necessarily, much depends upon the willingness of the bucket carrier, a little spilling lightens the load, done it myself. There again, it's possible that owing to a structural deficiency, rough seas, something like that, rum leaked, drip by drip from the Admiral's Keg. The other thing to keep in mind is that even in the 1970's good home made cider, not the corporate stuff, wasn't really cider unless the fermentation vat contained some sort of meat product which would suggest that back in the early 18th Century any delicacy around something like an Admiral in a keg of rum wouldn't necessarily have been a high priority on the continuum of niceties. We could of course just sit here hooked up to the flashing lights of a technical device, watched over by dictionaries, but no doubt language is our tool of choice when exploring the experience of meaning, which in the end is an exploration of the wellsprings of meaning which over the generations have poured forth from our being in a free and abundant manner only to find themselves gathered up and popped into a keg, or ladled into a bucket and subjected to no end of nefarious and often very disgraceful tapping.

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