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Friday, May 6, 2011

Double First Cousin

The recent near-demise of a Florida resident who plowed into the back of a pickup truck and who was charged with driving while shaving, may have nothing to do with the title of this piece. Not directly anyway but double first cousins are a fairly recent anthropological construct that has not yet entered the literature of that august science and thus warrants some explanation.

Of course, dear reader, you are not impressed by an introductory statement on driving while shaving, as you personally know people who have crashed while applying makeup, texting and the like. However, it will be a cold day in hell before you meet Joe Black or anyone who drives while shaving their pubic region. That would be Megan Baines, she of the freshly minted DUI and doubly-suspended license from the day before. I speculate here that if you are caught driving on a suspended license, you get arrested, not another period of suspension. But I may be wrong. None of this, of course, brings you any closer to an understanding of that hitherto-unknown anthropological gem, the double first cousin.

Ms Baines had been intent on looking her best for a date, so en-route, she asked her ex husband Leroy Leroy to steer while she shaved. Contrary to popular belief, Leroy Leroy could still be distracted by his ex-wife's deft clutch work, ergo the crash. You are wondering why Ms Baines was going on a date with her ex-husband. You know little of southern customs don't you?

Truth be told, Ms Baines is a family-oriented person and may have decided to catch up on the latest family gossip with her first cousin. A long trip, little to do, no more gossip. Why not a shave? Those of you who live in the northern part of the country may find this as quaint as sweet tea but unless you're willing to list the benefits of ice fishing, I would suggest you park the pomposity. And were you thinking of making reference to the southern sport of alligator hunting, I would respond that it's them or us. And I'd rather it be them.

The sport of alligator hunting predates baseball, soccer and basketball by at least a century and dates back three hundred years to the time of the arrival of French settlers in what is now known as Louisiana. Many historians believe Louisiana was named after the French king Louis the Headless in stark contrast to local legend. What really happened is a tale for the ages. It appears that a small flotilla of French vessels had landed at the mouth of the Mississippi river, dropped off some sailors and sailed up river. The admiral soon came to realize that this huge river had no end in sight and decided to turn around to pick up his men before continuing further.

Late that night the ship returned to the mouth of the river and the admiral hailed his men on the shore. Anticipating their admiral's curiosity, a number of the men, led by one Lieutenant Louis, had made off into the hinterland to locate natives who they thought may have been able to guide them. True enough, the admiral's first words to his men were “Where are we?” The response “Louis an a” was cut short by an alligator who swallowed the speaker. A hunt for the alligator ensued, giving rise to an exciting sport and the name of a great state.

I will not bore you with the genealogy of the Baines family. Suffice it to say, double first cousins come about when the groom marries the daughter of his uncle and aunt and his uncle is his father's brother and his aunt is his mother's sister. If your head is no longer spinning, rest assured I have it on the highest authority that such a thing has been known to happen from time to time. Ask Ms Baines.