A rose, famously, would smell as sweet even with a different moniker – though I am uncertain whether Shakespeare’s hypothesis has ever been put to the test. I do have some friends with very young children, so perhaps one would be amenable to always referring to roses as “thargs” in their offspring’s presence and see whether this affects their later olfactory enjoyment of the bloom. However, I suppose that would only produce a single piece of anecdotal evidence – I’d really need to recruit an entire cohort of the very young and even then double-blinding the study would be near impossible. OK, let’s just take Will’s word for it.
You should, by now, be aware that, among many other things, I am referred to as The Spicy Fish (if not, you really should be paying more attention to these musings). An anodyne enough appellation I would have thought – surely there is nothing offensive about spice, fish or the definite article – but Microsoft would beg to differ.
De temps en temps, when registering for some on-line service or another, I eschew the name which my parents bestowed on me all those years ago – and by which I am known to the machinery of the British State – in favour of a more “fun” identity. I tried doing this with Microsoft’s Zune music service – but apparently The Spicy Fish breaches some policy on taste or decency relating to user names. I recognise that I may be slow to take offence (or offense or, indeed, a fence) but I’ve been racking my brain for some time and can still see nothing problematic in The Spicy Fish. Even grouping the letters in an unusual way or searching for embedded words (à la Scunthorpe) has yielded nothing. I can create a mild swear word via anagram – but this would be true of any words including both “S” and “I” that follow a definite article, so it surely can’t be this.
So, as a result of this mysterious intransigence by Microsoft, I have been forced to come up with a new (though homophonous) “secret” identity. So, from now on I will be known as “The Spy C Fish”. Not sure yet for what the “C” will stand: I could use the Welsh form of my middle name, Cennydd – but does that have the right feel for a man steeped in the murky world of espionage? Whilst Courtney would clearly be funny, it is entirely unsuitable for the secret service’s finest. I think the search goes on…
Nevertheless, the scene with Goldfinger and a laser does work quite nicely for my new alias (NB: Please read with the appropriate accents to heighten your reading pleasure):
The Spy C Fish: Do you expect me to talk?
Auric Goldfinger: No, Mr Fish. I expect you to fry!