The Null Device

To craunch the marmoset

I am currently spending some time in Barcelona, once again on occasion of the Primavera festival.

P1360504 Whilst in the narrow, winding streets of the old town, I noticed a marmot-shaped door knocker on one door. This immediately brought to mind the French idiomatic expression croquer le marmot (to stand hesitantly at a door with one's hand over the door knocker, without following through), marmot-shaped door knockers presumably being customary in those days. This expression was, of course, memorably gifted to the English language as “to craunch the marmoset” by Pedro Carolino, the non-English-speaking Portuguese author of English As She Is Spoke, an unintentionally surreal (and, needless to say, entirely unusable) Portuguese-English phrasebook.

A contemporary equivalent of craunching the marmoset would presumably involve hovering over the SEND button in one's email client or something similar.

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