SHELDON:  I heard you giggling.  What’s so funny?

WES:  I was just reading this list of collective names for animals.  Scientists apparently have a sense of humor.  At least some seem to like playing with words anyway.

SHELDON:  How so?

WES:  Listen for yourself.  For instance, did you know a gathering of buzzards is called a wake?

SHELDON:  That makes sense.  A bunch of old birds hanging around a dead body looks like a wake to me.

WES:  An ostentation of peacocks.

SHELDON:  They got that right.  Those show-offs really like to strut their stuff.  So pretentious.

WES:  Here’s a great one!  A prickle of porcupines.  Hah!

SHELDON:  That is good.  Just so you don’t rub them the wrong way; then you’d really be stuck.  (Heh-heh.)

WES:  Ouch!  You had to reach for that one.

SHELDON:  Where there’s a quill, there’s a way.

WES:  (Ahem.)  This one’s a little odd.  A group of leopards is called a leap.  Because they leap from one place to another, I suppose.

SHELDON:  So they can change their spots, right?

(Bump.  Bump.  Bump.)

What are you doing?

WES:  Following the instructions on my mouse pad.  It says, “Bang head here.”

SHELDON:  Oh, come, now.  I thought my response was quite witty.  Stop rolling your eyes.

WES:  Moving on.  Here’s another:  a cackle of hyenas.

SHELDON:  That works.  They really do have unnerving voices.   Say, a cackle of grackles would work, too, right?

WES:  I suppose.  A romp of otters.

SHELDON:  How about a rump of hippos?

WES:  Very good.  But according to this it’s a bloat of hippopotamuses.

SHELDON:  What happened to hippopotami?  That way both the hips and the pot would be covered.  Hippo-pot–Oh, my.

WES:  Maybe we should stop here.

SHELDON:  No, no.  Go on.

WES:  All right.  Get this.  A rhumba of rattlesnakes.  The way they sway from side to side moving along the ground must have inspired that.

SHELDON:  Cobras sway, too, but they do it to that annoying music, so they may have a better claim to the rhumba title.

WES:  Actually, all snakes are deaf and the cobra just mimics the movement of the snake charmer.

SHELDON:  So the snake is really faking it?  It’s getting so you can’t trust anyone.

WES:  On that note:  a parliament of owls.

SHELDON:  Wait a minute.  Aren’t owls supposed to be wise?

WES:  I see your point.  You certainly don’t hear much wisdom coming from any form of government these days, parliamentarian or otherwise.

SHELDON:  Right; it does have to be other– wise.

WES:  Touché.

SHELDON:  I guess that makes a parliament of owls an oxymoron then—with the accent on moron.

WES:  We’ve probably taken that as far as we can.  Now, a chain of bobolinks.  Brilliant!

SHELDON:  Honestly, I’m beginning to think these scientists must have been a little snockered when they came up with these terms.

WES:  A tower of giraffes.

SHELDON:  Now I know they were drunk!

WES:  H-m-m-m . . .


WES:  Funny.  There’s no name for a collection of muses.

SHELDON:  May I point out that we’re not animals.  Otherwise, it’s obvious.  An inspiration.  An inspiration of muses.

WES:  Very good, Sheldon.

SHELDON:  Thank you.  It just came to me.  But getting back to the animal kingdom . . . .  How about a can of worms or a trunk of elephants?

WES:  Or a hopper of rabbits?

SHELDON:  Oh, this is fun.  A network of gnus.

WES:  I love it!  Wait.  An asylum of cuckoos!

SHELDON:  Splendid!  Let’s see.  Maybe . . .



© 2013, The Wit’s End Scribbler

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