A barking dog is often more useful than a sleeping lion.
I’ve always thought the shortened form of the name William was a curious one. If you turn out to be a big guy in later life, say 6 feet tall or better, then you’re fine, but if you happen to end up as closer to the 5 feet mark in stature then the name isn’t so good. Being called ‘Big Willy’ all the time must make for more of a confidence builder than being stuck all your life as ‘Small Willy’ or ‘Wee Willy’.
Fortunately women don’t seem to have the same problem, at least not since the name ‘Fanny’ has gone out of fashion.
This is all by way of introduction to a man I knew called, you’ve probably guessed already, ‘Willy’. He was just medium height and so everybody just called him ‘Willy’ – to his face that is. Behind his back ‘Willy’ had another nick name.
Willy was a curious bloke. He was by far and away the most disobliging man I have ever had the misfortune to meet. And selfish and bad tempered as well. Everything was about him, what he wanted, and when he wanted it. Nobody else mattered.
And to top it all off, he was as dumb as they come. He never finished school or learned a trade. Any time he was employed it was only for a short while quite frankly because no one could stick his attitude for very long. If he was given a job to do he did it, but as reluctantly and as badly as possible and would never help out any of his colleagues – even when doing so would have helped himself.
Willy was also born with a cleft pallet sometimes known as a ‘hair lip’. In his day the surgical techniques for correcting such an infliction were not as advanced as nowadays and Willy ended up with a quite pronounced speech impediment for the rest of his life.
Eventually though he found a woman desperate enough to take him on and they got married. Her name was Ruth, a nice name. At least it was to everybody but ‘Willy’. For a short time after they were married he called her Ruth, naturally enough, that was her name. But then after a few weeks or months he changed her name (unofficially) to ‘Margaret’, which was not and had never been her name or part of it. But from then on to him she was ‘Margaret’, Ruth was no more.
It wasn’t because he didn’t like her real name, or because he had forgotten it, he wasn’t quite as stupid as that, I don’t think so anyhow. He had an entirely different reason.
It was also the time that ‘Willy’ became known to one and all in the district as “The Dog”.
You see, because of his affliction and consequent speech impediment, ‘Willy’ could not say the name ‘Ruth’ properly – why did he choose a woman with that name to begin with you ask? I think perhaps the number he had to choose from was very small.
When he was out in company, or even just shouting around his own house or garden for his wife, in his head ‘Willy’ was saying ‘Ruth, Ruth’. But what the rest of us heard was only ‘Woof, Woof’.
Now I may be an evil person, I hope not, but this just cracked me up every time I heard it. One ‘Woof’ was funny enough, but when he put two or three of them together, ‘Woof, Woof, Woof’ it was just too much. Absolutely hilarious seeing and hearing this grown man walking about shouting ‘Woof’ like a demented dog. Hence the nickname he got lumbered with for the rest of his days.
Of course all the hilarity made him even crosser than he normally was and the situation was never helped when some of the local wits handed him a dog biscuit when he was in full flight, or tried to feel his nose to see if it was cold, to which he invariably replied ‘WTF’ or in ‘Willy’s’ case make that ‘WTH’!
And that was the tale of Willy And Woof!
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