I’ve always liked the expression “he swears like a longshoreman.”
My liking hasn’t been tempered by the fact that I rarely swear and have never met any longshoremen. Or at least, I didn’t until Burdock came along.
Rounding out the black-and-white-plus-Julie pack, Burdock looks like Spike‘s long lost funky-tuxedo cousin, with all the sweetness of a marshmallow Peep. (Which don’t come in cat-shaped varieties, which is sad. But I digress.) The shelter from whence he came had clearly given Burdock oodles of love, good reason to trust human beans…and one gnarly name.
Slip into your argyle vest and work your best Biff-isms, because Burdock had a name fit for an 80’s soap opera. Burdock…was Blaine.
Blaine. Blaine. As in, “It’ll be wicked-bodacious to the max when Blaine, Blaze, Buffy and I party hearty. What do you mean Blaine can’t come??! Lame-o-rama!”
Some cats would slip into a soap opera quite naturally. Peachy, for instance, would thrive with a name like Amethyst, and a plotline in which she and her evil twin battle for the title of Miss Tabby’s Place. Captain is totally studly. Edward would love to anchor something akin to Dallas (I can see it now…Ringoes).
But this happy fella? Negative. A name like “Blaine” demands an attitude of superiority, a snooty way of talking, and a lot of hair product. Burdock would be more at home playing clarinet in the marching band than whining “gag me with a spoon” or posturing at the mall. There’s a delicious lack of drama about our tuxie. On the mellow-meter, he falls somewhere between “Coma” (Exhibit A: Mr. Grey) and “Sleepily amused” (Exhibit B: Franny). There would be no casting for Ringoes, 08551 in our easy-going guy’s future. So the merciful Karina and Danielle rescued Burdock from the Wrong Name.
Yet what a weird rescue it was – kind of like being pulled out of quicksand only to be plunked into a vat of lemon curd. It’s better…but it’s pretty flippin’ weird. And so Blaine became…Burdock.
Was it (A) vaguely British? (“I say, old chap, will Lord Burdock be jolly good and join us for cricket? No? Bollocks!”)
Was it (B) related to docks and piers and longshoremen?
Or was it (C) any of a group of biennial thistles in the genus Arctium, family Asteraceae?
Yeah, naturally (C) was my guess too. Some things are wicked-obvious.
In all seriousness, although I guessed (B), the answer is both (A) and (C). In this case, courtesy of our resident Brit, Karina, “Burdock” comes from “dandelion and burdock,” a soft drink imbibed in the UK since well before the 80s (unless you mean the 1280s). You learn something new every day.
And in Burdock’s case, you learn that the life of a Tabby’s Place cat is something to shout (and happily swear) about. Just as surely as dandelions are pretty (fie on silly folks who insist on calling those little yellow sunbursts “weeds”), so Burdock is nestled happily into the Suite (B) life. Although a burdock apparently has nothing to do with other kinds of docks, it just so happens that Suite B is a fitting place for those who swear like longshoremen.
Far be it from me to accuse Burdock, or any other cat, of cussing. But I’ve heard some of what goes on between the oversized egos in Suite B, and there’s no way Jackie‘s comments are safe for little ears. (I think it is safe to translate a hiss as #$@*.) Burdock is so gentle that it’s hard to imagine him returning tit for tat – or cuss for curse. But neither is he a fainting prude; he’s been around, and Jackie’s jibes don’t rattle him.
Besides, he’s too busy snoozing and smooshing and making volunteers do double-takes and say, Was Spike returned?? (No. I promise.)
Just about the only soap opera twist in all this is the burning, Blaine-worthy question: which of the Burdock bunch (which includes Julie, Jambalaya and Elijah) will be the first out of the gate? Only the master Screenwriter knows…and your guess is as good as mine.
Meantime, ‘scuse me – I think I’m going to go weave some dandelions into a garland and hang out with the longshoreman who isn’t a Blaine…beautiful Burdock.