Friday, July 20, 2007

To Shiv or To Shank: A Lesson In Etiquette

Today’s post was guest written by our good friend Bradford Pennyknocker III. A gentleman, scholar and all around dandy man to have around for a good fox hunt...

Recently it has come up in conversation that people are unaware of the correct usage of, and differences of, Shiv and Shank. Both are equal in action, but when converted to verbiage, the subtle differences scream out for elaboration.
To Shank someone is a violent action usually unaccompanied by words and, well, is just not used in polite society. It’s best left to common street thugs, low intelligence inmates and, to put it bluntly, those ruffians that congregate in east wing of the gentlemen’s club. Why, those beasts have watered down my brandy, pilfered my PRIVATE humidor and have even begun to berate me during cricket matches…I know...Appalling, isn’t it? ...Anyway, I digress… Shanking is a brutal statement in a personal relationship. To me it says “I don’t believe you’re worth the mother-of-pearl in your cuff links.”… Very, rude…On the other hand, to Shiv someone shows a camaraderie between you and the Shivee… The Shiving action is a more thought out motion, done with style and grace… let’s look at some examples, shall we?

Rupert has insulted the cut of your smoking vest. After several attempts to receive reparations from him, you decide to clear this matter as you pass him near the tennis courts…would you:

  1. Insult his, ahem, Momma and wildly slash at his throat with the steak knife you’ve liberated from the dining room?
  2. Walk quietly towards him and as you break plane with his elbow, turn sharply and deliver the ‘Ol Cut and Butter to his ribs? (If you have to ask what the Cut and Butter is, you obviously don’t belong to Skull & Bones.)
  3. Clasp him tightly on the shoulder and as you inquire as to his dear old mom’s health, you slip your sharpened letter opener between his third and fourth ribs just deep enough to nick his aorta allowing him to trot off to the infirmary, if he’s quick, and think about his discretion as he recuperates.

Now if you’ve answered A you’re either not paying attention or you’ve stumbled upon this writing while looking for Professor Thunkneck’s street fisticuffs course.

Now that that’s taken care of can, you identify which is the shank and which is the shiv?
(if you need a hint, please reread the beginning of this essay and this time, for the love of the Queen , take notes!)

Let’s have another one, right?

Chauncey has taken liberties with your bottle of 1951 Chateau Cheval Blanc while you were in the loo. Do you:

  1. Leap upon his chest and tear out his throat with your exaggerated canines thereby establishing yourself as the dominant male? (Sorry I’ve been engrossed in a fascinating study of the Western Lowland Gorillas done by the Royal Academy)
  2. While he is seating himself properly you stroll past him and plunge the tip of your pudding fork into his throat relieving him of the pressure of choosing the correct silver setting for dinner?(There seems to be a lot of throat references in this narrative…perhaps I’m a tad parched…)
  3. Approach him as he reclines in the card room, and while leaning in to give him the evenings greeting, slide the edge of your watch fob below his sternum as a warning to respect your vintage spirits?

Once again the correct identification should be no sweat for pupils such as yourselves….Oh Dear... I seem to be running late for tea…well I think you should be well enough prepared to chose your retaliatory method properly….