Word of the Day: futtock

Do you remember the Christmas when the toy that everyone wanted and couldn’t find was the “Tickle Me Elmo?” Yeah. That was 13 years ago. Well, today’s story was written about a different Elmo, but, given the holiday season, I thought I’d drag it out again, especially since this year is the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street.

Today’s Word:


As in:

A Kmart store in Denver pulled a “talking T-shirt” from its shelves when several customers complained about its inappropriate language. The shirt, which depicts the beloved Sesame Street character, Cookie Monster, is suppose to say “Time to Truck”. Unfortunately, the “t” in “truck” sounds like the letter “f”.

This is the forty-second recall of shirts which had poor sound recordings. The first recorded incidence was in 1842 when a “pull-string” sailor doll had a recorded message of “Hoist the sails and man the futtocks”, in which the unfortunate “f” sounded like a “b”. Other near misses included the popular “tickle-me Elmo” doll, which says “that tickles.” The doll was delayed for U.S. release because, oddly enough, the phrase sounded like “I don’t like to be tickled, so put me down you pervert.” The recording was fortunately fixed in time for the doll to be the hottest selling item in the U.S. for Christmas 1996.

This story is brought to you by the letters “f”, “t”, “b” and by the number 42.

A short story, but, efficiency is to be admired, I think.

futtock: / FUT-ok / Any of the curved timbers forming the ribs of a wooden ship. Also, the futtock plate is the top of a ship’s lower mast which holds the futtock shrouds, which are short iron rods that brace the top mast where it joins with the lower mast. Now you know.