Rape Town, Gangster's Paradise (GP) and more

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Mon Apr 26 03:43:02 UTC 2004

On Apr 25, 2004, at 9:17 AM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Re: Rape Town, Gangster's Paradise (GP) and more
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>> "SHORT ARM INSPECTION ... My military friend here gave me this."
> "Short arms" means handguns (pistols, revolvers, etc.) AFAIK. There is
> of
> course a double-entendre. I don't know that "short arm" by itself has
> currency as a serious (even slangy-serious) anatomical term, but
> probably
> it's been used humorously in the military, following the inspection.
> Then of course there's "short arms, deep pockets" which is unrelated
> (I think).
> -- Doug Wilson

Having served in the US Army in the 'Fifties and 'Sixties, I can say
that, in our military, the "short-arms inspection" is just an empty
joke, having to do with the "fact" that anyone thus inspected and found
to have VD is given a shot of penicillin in his left testicle with a
hypodermic having a square needle the size of a railroad spike. Call:
"Short-arm inspection!" Response: "Square needle in the left nut!"
followed by general laughter. During Basic Training, it was used as a
tension-breaker, ritualized to the extent that, normally, only the
response was used, since the term "short arm" was totally meaningless,
having long since lost its currency, if it ever had any, in the US
Army. Would a red-blooded, gung-ho, American infantryman - Call:
"Infantry! Queen (yes, it is somewhat incongruous) of battle! What is
the meaning of 'infantry'?! Response: "Kill!!" - refer to his penis as
"short"? In the words of Noam Chomsky, "I think not." Regular soldiers
carry only some form of long arm, e.g. carbine, rifle, machine gun, for
which the general term is "weapon," hence, "weapons inspection" as the
sole term, devoid of any secondary meaning.
After I'd been in the Army about two years, I came to know an armorer
and heard the term, "long arm," allowing me to intuit the meaning of
"short arm."


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