Harem eunuchs

"Trust you won't have to be a harem eunuch," I wrote my friend. He got a teensy part in a spring Dallas Opera production of Rossini's "The Italian Girl in Algiers".

Such a funny word, eunuch. Back in high school, during the last Ice Age, the males in my social group formed an intramural flag football team called "The Eunuchs". Why exactly they chose this team name isn't important, just as most of what happens in high school isn't important.

We had yearbooks in those paleolithic days, but no Facebook. It was just as well.

Well = eu. That's what we learned about Greek and Latin root words: Eugene, Eunice, euphoria, eulogy, eucalyptus...

Eunuch has a different etymology. Eune = bed. This from the Online Etymology Dictionary:

1387, from Gk. eunoukhos "castrated man," originally "guard of the bedchamber or harem," from euno-, comb. form of eune "bed" + -okhos, from stem of ekhein "to have, hold." The Gk. and L. forms of the word were used to transl. Heb. saris, which sometimes meant merely "palace official," in Septuagint and Vulgate, probably without an intended comment on the qualities of bureaucrats.

Good grief. Let us not comment on the qualities of bureaucrats in or out of bed!

Instead I comment on my abbreviated adventure in Facebook. The Dallas Morning News ran a large double op ed about Facebook today. As a DMN Voice I've had a couple questions from the editorial board about online social networks.

For research only, I created a Facebook account today. My sons have bravely allowed me to blog as long as I didn't have a presence on Facebook, so this was dangerous territory. As quick as possible I logged out, but not before one of the Lincoln East High Eunuchs showed up on the list of people I might know. If I've been happily unconnected with high school eunuchs for over thirty-five years, why would I want the wonders of the Internet to reconnect us now?

Do you Facebook? Sitting around the dining table at New Years I quibbled with sons and girlfriends about whether "Facebook" could be a verb.

Do you Auroch? We are considering Ice Age animals in the preschool class. We are discovering saber tooth tigers and woolly mammoths. Aurochs were the giant wild bison depicted in the cave paintings at Lascaux. Maybe the cave paintings were a social networking site for the Ice Age.

© 2009 Nancy L. Ruder

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