‘Inter faeces et urinam nascimur’

“Between feces and urine we are born,” said Augustine in the 4th century. The bishop of Hippo’s take on parturition was that our mothers effectively defecate us from their feculent crannies.

Doctrine on sex and love handed down by dour anchorites and prelates is enforced today by elderly bachelors in skullcaps. In the canonical telling, the consummate Mother was inseminated by annunciation. Cut to swaddled infant lying in a manger.

Thus come we apostolically to be flustered by our nethers. We humans are a slanging breed. We speak in tongues that have a thousand ways to go all wink-wink, nudge-nudge where major and minor waters debouch into the swamp of procreation.

In “Don Quijote,” Sancho Panza, seized while frozen in his tracks by the urgent need to do what no man can do for him, drops trouser in preparation. “… Alzó la camisa lo mejor que pudo, y echó al aire entrambas posaderas, que no eran muy pequeñas.”

My enhanced translation is: “… He hiked his shirt to the extent that he was able, and bared to the four winds a pair of haunches which did not err on the side of picayune.”

“Posaderas” is delicious, deriving from “posar,” meaning “to sit”; so it’s the “sitters,” the hind quarters that meet the seat.

A happy discovery is that German has “sitzfleisch,” meaning “seat flesh,” a term for the bee-you-double-tee that can can be emblematic of a certain endurance or ability to work long hours. Philip Roth was “king of sitzfleisch,” someone said recently, alluding to the novelist’s dogged writing routine.

Philologically speaking, I imagine “sitzfleisch” and “posaderas” to be jovial code words traded by German and Roman cousins sharing a bench in the shade of Babel’s tower as each pointed to his you know what.

(c) 2021 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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