I was editing one of my story called “Pink Black Widow”, when I’ve run into a little snag. I needed to find monsters. Not monsters with long fangs, sticky tentacles or legs growing out of their heads, but verbal ones. The culprit word, which sent me on this unusual quest was “decumanus”, a word which plays quite a sinister role in Pink Black Widow. I was looking for some name which could make a match from a dark and even sinister side of meanings, like “chthonic” or “Tcheralindra”.
“How about fishes?”
Let me explain. When I was a kid I loved to look through six volumes of zoological encyclopedia, a relatively modern descendant of Bream’s “Life of Animals”. I could sit for hours and just go through infinite stock of invertebrate and vertebrate creatures in all their majesty and disgust. I didn’t read much until later, but I was always enthralled by the colorful pictures, thousands of them. I guess, these books substituted cartoons for me, something that I’ve never appreciated. Especially, I liked the fishes, they had so many exotic names, like ipnops and dolopicht… and I stopped there because my old memory got a bit rusty and it didn’t cooperate. So, I cudgeled it a bit, as I do sometimes for my literary work. I did it for hours, until I reached a state of mild insanity, and then, a-ha! – it gave in, and the fishes came from the darkness waving their fins and opening their wide mouths full of long sharp teeth. Careproct came, and lasiognat, cosidoron, macropinnah, poloryl and many others came, including finally, oh, this was my favorite, opisthoproct. Hi, Opisthoproct!
Most of these fishes live at crazy depths, thousands feet down in the darkness and they look pretty much like they are named: they all are anglers and hence they are monsters even within their own fishy community. My choice of a monster word fell on opisthoproct.
Yet, I’ve been curious – because of the long time that had passed, my knowledge of these fishy names was purely phonetic, so I wanted to find at least some of them in the dictionary. Strangely, none of them was listed. The only one of those which I’ve mustered was there, and it was my favorite opisthoproct! Yet, even the opisthoproct had no entry per se, but I’ve got it in parts, through its Greek roots. Good thing that at least those were in the dictionary. So I’ve found that “Opistho” stood for Greek “behind” and “Proct”, well, you know what proctology means, don’t you?
After that discovery I felt slightly discombobulated and honestly, disappointed. It appeared that the name of the fish of my childhood dreams was “one who got anus behind”? What a silly, profane name! How much mysterious it sounded in Greek! Opisthoproct. Besides, the mystery was reduced to commonality – after all: aren’t we all in possession of this characteristic?
Aren’t we all opisthoprocts?
Except, of course, this is not our defining feature (I hope). And, leaving us (humans) alone, I think opisthoproctism is not so common for the fishes. Or is it?
Literature, Art, Music, Culture and Nature