Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"Armadillo" is the word my group of friends have used as a code word in conversations with third parties to quietly inform the friend (usually drunk, depending on the friend) that he has crossed the line of social acceptability with the third party, like a conversational kick under the table. I consider the word something of a dumb choice, in that it's hard to work into a conversation surreptitiously. Sample dialogue:


FRIEND ONE and FRIEND TWO are having a nice conversation with a THIRD PARTY at a pleasant, neighborhood cocktail hour. FRIEND TWO is drunk.

This party has turned out to be really nice! It's great to meet some new friendly people!

And I love what you've done with the place! The Master Bedroom is terrific!

(mildly slurring)
Yeah! It sure was terrific last night!

You mean with all those armadillos on the bed?

FRIEND TWO does a spit-take.

And so forth.

Anyway, at least to some degree, the term seems to be catching on! I love this. I think there's a genius in it. Get an armored truck, paint "SURVEILLANCE VEHICLE" on the side, and then just park it wherever there seems to be trouble. This slices through to a heady truth about life: people behave when they think they're being watched. It's one of the reasons why parents raise their kids to believe in God -they know they're not going to be there all the time to supervise. So am I saying God is one big armadillo? One could argue that, I guess, but then you'd be putting the world in jeopardy of imminent social chaos. Some try.

Security forces around the nation are watching this in earnest, thinking: that one's going to be tough to beat.

"Police say they have a four-week waiting list of requests for the Armadillo."