The Public Eye

printed 08/17/2018

Always one to admit my errors, I made a mistake last week. That was when I laughed to myself about how clever I was being as I wrote that someone walking and wearing a thong might be referred to as a “lunar rover.”

Apparently, that was not clever. Let’s just say it was mentioned to me that my train of thought must have gone off on a rail spur somewhere and never made its way back to the station.

“Lunar rover? I don’t get it,” was the response from the Grand Inquisitor in my household.

“What do you mean, ‘lunar rover?’” an email correspondent asked.

First of all, I’d like to thank the two people who read my column last week (there’s possibly a third, but he’s away on a trip to the Congo or some other place retired people go when they run out of golf balls). It’s always good to have an audience, however small it may be.

But I digress. “Lunar rover” referred to that little vehicle the astronauts used many years ago to zip around the surface of the moon. “Moon” being the operative word in this instance. As for “rover,” it refers to the act of roving, or walking, around.

Therefore, “Lunar rover,” means someone mooning while walking around. Get it?

Still, no?

Okay, back in the olden days before people spent their waking hours staring into and listening to various hand-held communications devices, one pastime among the 17-to-18-year-old set, at least in my experience, was, umm, exposing one’s derriere through the window of a slowly rolling vehicle in front of an unsuspecting individual or group of individuals to the great delight of ... the car’s occupants anyway.

This good, clean fun, as it were, was known as “mooning,” although other variations were popular at the time as well.

These would include the “Pressed Ham,” which was the same thing but with the car windows rolled up, thus offering a somewhat different presentation, and the “Big Smile.”

The latter required some serious maneuvering — from what I’ve been told, of course.

Luckily for the general population, this fad did not last long in my neck of the woods, possibly because of certain moving violations of the public’s sensibilities and at least one minor incident involving a school bus full of cheerleaders.

Anyway, all this would be beside the point today, as more and more bathing suit fashions seem to have bottomed out, so to speak. Hence the “lunar rover” remark that no one got.

This, of course, is not the first time that I’ve been off the mark. Back in 1985, I think, I wrote a headline about Hurricane Gloria passing off the coast. It read, “Tempest fugit,” which is Latin for “time flies.”

“It’s a Latin pun,” I ended up having to explain to my co-workers, friends, family and acquaintances. “See, a hurricane is a ‘tempest’ and fugit means …”

After all these years of trying to be clever, I have learned two things: sometimes you knock it to the moon, while other times you are one.

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