Friday, June 26, 2009

"the howling fantods."

A short passage from p. 45 which really blew me away:

Roaches give him the howling fantods. The parishes around N.O. had been having a spate or outbreak of a certain Latin-origin breed of sinister tropical flying roaches, that were small and timid but could fucking fly, and that kept being found swarming on New Orleans infants, at night, in their cribs, especially infants in like tenements or squalor, and that reportedly fed on the mucus in the babies' eyes, some special sort of optical-mucus--the stuff of fucking nightmares, mobile flying roaches that wanted to get at your eyes, as an infant--and were reportedly blinding them; parents'd come in in the ghastly A.M.-tenement light and find their infants blind, like a dozen blinded infants that last summer...

Not much to say about it right now. I just love it. Still slightly behind (p. 50), and I'll probably be even more behind after a weekend kayaking trip which I am NOT lugging the book along for.

Incidentally, Blogger's spellcheck doesn't recognize fantod. So here you go, from the O.E.D. of course:


A crotchety way of acting; a fad.

1839 C. F. BRIGGS Adv. H. Franco I. 249 You have got strong symptoms of the fantods. 1867 SMYTH Sailor's Word-bk., Fantods, a name given to the fidgets of officers. 1880 MRS. PARR Adam & Eve xxxii. 440 I'd do the trick, if I was she, 'fore I'd put up with such fantads from you. 1881 Leicestersh. Gloss., Fantodds, ‘megrims’, ‘mulligrubs’, a stomach-ache; a fit of the sulks or other slight indisposition, mental or bodily. 1884 ‘MARK TWAIN’ Huck. Finn xvii, These was all nice pictures,..but I didn't somehow seem to take to them, because..they always give me the fan-tods. 1886 BARNES Dorset Dial. 63 Fantod, a fuss, fidget. ‘She's always in a fantod about Meary’. 1910 Sat. Westm. Gaz. 1 Jan. 6/1 Sundays inside of a house gives you the fan-tods. 1920 GALSWORTHY In Chancery I. v, You mustn't get into a fantod, it'll never do. 1935 J. MASEFIELD Box of Delights viii. 220 ‘I say,’ Kay said, ‘what a place!’ ‘It gives me the fantods,’ Peter answered. ‘I don't like the place.’

Hence fantod a., Fidgetty, restless.