Stubborn Old Sod…

I was brought up in a good Christian family and church where swearing didn’t happen…

I was chatting to Des yesterday. His Mum’s in hospital and not too well. ‘She’s a stubborn old sod’, he said in an endearing but accepting way. I asked if this was a medical condition for which she’s being treated…

I returned to my book, ‘A Man Called Ove’ delightfully written by Fredrik Backman. He describes Ove: ‘…some people thought he was nothing but a grumpy old sod…’ I warmed to him.

…Musing on my attitude to swearing… and ‘sod’ in particular…

As a boy I went to a school where Percy Soderberg was the headmaster. He was benign, affable and known to all as ‘Sod’…

…We sung the carol ‘Good King Wenceslas’, singing ‘Heat was in the very SOD which the saints had printed,’ with particular emphasis. We thought it was funny.

…The Two Ronnies sung ‘Bold Sir John’… ‘So doff your hats I pray’, becomes ‘Sod off…’ which we  still laugh at…

The origin of ‘sod’ is certainly serious – the story of Lot and his family at Sodom. Gang rape in any generation is sickening; encountering it right at the beginning of my Bible!…

Sodomy, homosexuality, was outlawed in Britain by Henry VIII’s legislation in 1533; convictions were punishable by death.

The law and attitudes regarding homosexuality have changed in my lifetime…as has the meaning and use of the word ‘sod’…

Just as Good King Wenceslas was talking about grassy turf and not anything homosexual, so ‘sod’ has developed another more affectionate meaning…

Mothers say, ‘He’s a little sod’ of their child, often meaning ‘He’s really naughty but I still love him.’

Des’ Mum no doubt will no doubt remain a ‘stubborn old sod’; I won’t be offended if I’m described (again!) as ‘a miserable/grumpy old sod’.  

But that may be yet another area in which I’m compromising and becoming too liberal…

2 thoughts on “Stubborn Old Sod…

  1. Bold Sir John was also gay in the Two Ronnies lyrics and, I guess, in the original. There were Boys’ Brigade Songbooks from the 60s and 70s containing the song “Anchor Boys are happy, Anchor Boys are gay…” and I often wonder the reactions if we tried to get it sung now. Groups of children don’t sing (on car journeys, in minibuses) like they used to – too consumed in their electronic device!
    Martin

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  2. He certainly was…. I have a feeling there is also a ruder version…. but I haven’t researched that!
    …you’re right – I’m not sure about the future of ‘community singing’ generally… karaoke is individual rather than together… community singing in church has certainly changed….
    Life isn’t like ;’the good old days’… when we were young and gay…

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