Saturday, December 4, 2010

Why "The Duchess"?

It occurred to me that the story behind why I chose this moniker is marginally entertaining, and some of you might be curious.

When I was a kid, and we were first learning how to use computers, we had computer class. I don't just mean "we" as kids I mean "we" as a society. I spent a lot of time on that Apple II, playing sweet games like Oregon Trail, and less sweet games like the typing one where if you screw up the little running guy falls on his face. Talk about pressure! One of the games we played definitely had an Alice in Wonderland theme, and there were different mini-games you could choose from. The only one I remember was one where you rolled "dice" or "pepper shakers" and the pepper would come out and a baby turned into a pig. Years later I was recounting this game, and everyone thought I was crazy. "There's no baby turning into a pig in Alice in Wonderland." I figured they were probably right, after all, Disney is known for it's accuracy in animated movies.

So because I am really nerdy, I actually sat down and read the real Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I loved it! And I'm not crazy! Turns out, there is a character called The Duchess who Alice has several encounters with, and she's AWESOME. Make no mistake, the Duchess was not a physically attractive character, quite the opposite. But she is my favorite because she is funny. Here are some of her more famous sayings:
"If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does."
"Tut, tut, child! Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it."
"Speak roughly to your little boy
and beat him when he sneezes
he only does it to annoy
because he knows it teases.
I speak severely to my boy
I beat him when he sneezes
for he can thoroughly enjoy
the pepper when he pleases."
And here's a fun exchange between Alice and the Duchess: "Alice: I didn't know that Cheshire cats always grinned; in fact, I didn't know that cats could grin. The Duchess: You don't know much; and that's a fact."

I totally get why Disney left her out of the story. I guess you can't have someone beating their kid for sneezing in a children's movie. Still, I think she's pretty bad ass. If you want the whole scoop on the Duchess, like how that's where Alice actually met the Cheshire Cat, or that The Duchess turns out to not be so bad, you can read the book. Or Google it. Whatever. Finally, this last one actually inspired the name of my blog:
'Thinking again?' the Duchess asked, with another dig of her sharp little chin.
'I've a right to think,' said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a little worried. 'Just about as much right,' said the Duchess, 'as pigs have to fly.'

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