[Reigian Studies.] [On behalf of the baroness.]


Always spaghetti

[Here a scan of the little story that Carles Reig wrote for the same
magazine I was mentioning yesterday. That’s the Butlletí de
l’Associació dels Catalans de Washington
, number 2, October 1989.
A transliteration of this I’m posting in The Widow.]

Always spaghetti

The magazine was the product of a retired professor of ancient and
complicated languages (Akkadian? Aramean? Aymara? Euskara?
Prakit? Lithuanian...? You bet, and more) from the catholic university –
(is there nowadays worse oxymoron...? pairing a cult craze and a
university where knowledge and not superstitions should be taught!)

Josep Soler-Solar had been bequeathed some money from a Catalonian
monk called Paulí Bellet, and with this money Bellet desired in his
deathbed that something be done for the Catalonian culture in
Washington DC. So the professor concocted the little magazine and
opened, inside the university, a library with Catalonian works into
which both Reig and myself gladly and profusely also contributed.

Soler-Solar was a roly-poly of a good zippy sage of a man – in his last
years, deliciously hunchbacked, elfin, troll-like, looking, in his green
warty suit, exactly as an overgrown frog – princely inside, no doubt.
With his stick and his shopping bag, a busy magic toad, indeed, the
while mysteriously mumbling and muttering to itself, categorically
formulating charming potions or some such.

Often he had bizarre “rampellades” – attacks of quaint genius.

It seems (I’ve been told, from different sources) that during a couple
years he was known around campus as Pepsi Cola. That arose
from his urge to further “Catalanize” his name. He converted Josep into
the colloquial Pep, and the two initials “s” of his name each into
a “more Catalonian” “ç” – only of course that as there were no “ç” in
English – plus he made do without the closing “r” (end of word “r”
being unpronounced in Catalonian), so that, in the final analysis, the
full name (sans accents) came out as Pep Cole-Cola which he then
proceeded to shorten and “gentilize” into Pep C.

In another occasion, one of his more keen pupils invited him to lunch at
his parents’ house. The father of the infatuated undergraduate belonged
to one of the tetraxile armed forces – the branch (marines? navy?) that
owns the silly motto (but aren’t they all silly, the unimaginative brutes?)
semper fi” for “semper fidelis” – and, as the boy’s
mother brought to table a plate of spaghetti, Pepsi Cola said, shining
with wit, “semper fideuis, eh...?

“Semper fideuis...?”

Nobody at table understood. The general or whatever he was, the
crotchety military fellow, thought the foolish professor was being
facetious with the sacred killing institution to which his soul was
indentured, and never uttered another word. The boy was disconsolate.
He had to forcibly move into the seminary in Baltimore or go to a
military academy in Annapolis or something.

Of course the gag’s secret lay in the word “fideus.” The Italians,
who copied and appropriated in the XIV century the Catalonian way of
preparing the wheaten dough (pasta, in Catalan,) and then
making it into different shapes and so on – something quite natural for
the Italians to adopt, as at the time the Catalonians were the masters of
Italy – later named the “fideus” spaghetti. Hence the joke: “semper
.” Pepsi probably meant that in a proper marine’s home,
spaghetti should be compulsory. And it makes sense, yeah. In all
marines’ or navymen’s tables the “fideus” should be preeminent – such
a patriotic course for a marine, or a navy fellow, or whatever.

[I’ve heard a few more good ones from the sayings and doings of dear
Pepsi that I’ll recount later, if warranted.]

we are the continuators... emptying the boxes, and more

visits since July 2008