20 Comments

  1. That’ not the cousin from Chicago behind the desk, it’s the PBS author. Stephan (Pastis) always gets the punishment for the puns, because he’s not a just a random listener: he writes those infernal things.

  2. P.S. Our non-American readership might be confused (or offended) by the verb in the post title. In British usage, it is synonymous with what Americans would call “screwing”. It’s too late now, but perhaps “whack” might have been a better choice.

  3. @Kilby, I’m an American, I was confused just as you write, because “bonking” is not a standard verb in (my dialect of) American English.

  4. The term “bonk” gained a bit of noteriety after Paul Hunter won the 2001 Snooker Masters tournament (10 frames to 9, vs. Fergal O’Brien). Trailing 2 to 6 after the first session, Hunter retired to his hotel room with his fiancee to engage in what he later described at a press conference as “Plan B”, adding that “B” was for “bonk”. The relaxation appeared to help: in the second session he won 7 of the last 9 frames to take the title.

  5. “Bonking” is the UK term, as Kilby says, but I understand the US does tend to use “boinking”.

    Although the acts are the same, bonking conveys some hint of uncomplicated joyousness, as does shagging, whereas screwing conveys (to me, anyway) something more joyless, or functionally mechanical, or abusive, or disapproved-of (like, involving the wrong person, often said by someone who considers themselves the right person who should have have been involved).

    Bonking is not to be confused with people being “bonkers” – it doesn’t mean they are regular performers of the intimate act arts, but are in some sense considered zany, goofy, eccentric or mad.

    Whacking does mean hitting someone (or moles) but also means killing someone, in movie gangster circles anyway. I’d probably have used bashing or clobbering in the title text.

  6. Over at Comics Curmudgeon, “boinking” is a standard term used by many of us, especially for the endless and irritating alleged eroticism featured almost daily in 9 CHICKWEED LANE.

  7. @ narmitaj – I have no native (nor direct) experience with the term “shag”, but the references that I have seen in various UK comedies (such as “Blackadder” or “Red Dwarf”) have left me with the distinct impression that it referred to an “inflicted” act, rather than a mutually “cooperative” one.

    P.S. As for “boink”, it was used by one of my physics professors to imply sudden movement (such as of subatomic particles), and I sometimes wondered whether Watterson might have attended one of his lectures:

    P.P.S. It would appear that Bill Amend, Jim Davis, and Mark Tatulli were also in the audience.

  8. @Kilby: Tatulli uses “bonk”. (And interestingly the quick frozen heart goes “pish” as it shatters, putting to mind the dismissive phrase “pish posh!”)

  9. A (non-Jewish and not terribly metropolitan) friend who enjoyed incorporating occasional bits of Yiddish-based American slang into her casual speech, once gossiped “Oh I’m sure she was already schlepping him by then!” . Probably intending schtupping.

  10. Yeah, Pastis has gotten to the point of assuming everyone knows the gag, and didn’t think of how it’d look like Rat was pummeling the Chicago pig. He should have put all three characters in the last panel. (I gave up on PBS a while ago, so I can’t say if he’s gotten lazier in general, or if this is just a notable slip.)

  11. @ larK – Thanks for the correction. It turned up in GoComics’ search results anyway, but I misread the word as lettered in the strip.

  12. In bicycling, “bonk” refers to running out of energy on a long ride. Similar to what runners call “hitting the wall”.

  13. A sitcom once had a scene where a man and woman managed to bump heads, and he said that they “boinked heads”. She found it amusing and corrected it to “bonk”.

  14. We Americans ought to be at least somewhat familiar with the term “shag” after seeing the Mike Myers movie “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.”

  15. As is so often the case, not remembering the name of the sitcom I mentioned above. I was able to recall the name of the actress (Ashley Williams) and that lead to the the show “Good Morning Miami”.

  16. Hmm. Incomplete thought above. “As is so often the case, not remembering the name of the sitcom I mentioned above was bothering me.”

    And I misspelled “led”. Not my finest post.

  17. … If I had a dime for every typo that I’ve noticed two seconds after posting it in a CIDU comment …

  18. @Kilby – the problem is I could easily see “whacking the pig” as a term for a particular activity…

  19. Bonking and shagging are both terms known by me.

    And the only times I have left the U.S. is a trip to Mexico with a (female) friend after college and two trips to Canada with Robert – by car.

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