The Crikey Army has spoken – the
clear majority of yesterday’s feedback believes the “bone” Eddie
allegedly wanted to pick with Jessica meant “f-ck”.

But I find
that disappointing and a little too obvious. The bony bit was about the
only language of promise in the whole affidavit. The other stuff, the
sandwich, the look-me-in-the-eye, the team, the think-very-carefully et
al, was all rather pedestrian and cliched – the sort of tripe script
writers might churn out for a failed drama set somewhere between a
television network and a footy club.

Which is why I was quite taken with the link two subscribers provided to Urban Dictionary,
a marvellous resource I hadn’t previously encountered in my sheltered
life. The UD contributors themselves weigh in heavily on the side of
bone meaning horizontal folk dancing, albeit with a rather nasty and
harsh edge, but what took my fancy was the seventh definition: bone, n.
informal, Short for Trombone.

The example provided is the
delightful “hold the bone while I get some lube for the slide”. And
that opens up another range of possibilities. What if Eddie meant:
‘When are we going to trombone Jessica?” Could this involve lube and a
slide? Or am I unconsciously heading back to the majority verdict?

It
might almost work. Without wishing to offend our bone playing
subscribers, the instrument has always looked the joke of the brass
section, fitting in with the subsequent “laughing stock” line. And the
slide could be used as a shepherd’s crook when dissembled. Or a
trombone could simply blast an unwanted host off a set.

But
probably not. Which is why I’m going with a combination of my two
original suspicions. Macquarie Dictionary take note – “bone” in the
context of sacking someone should be derived from the abattoir and
butcher shop, as in “boning a carcass”, or “bone a leg of lamb”, along
with a hint of f-cking the victim more generally – etymology that most
fits the modern PBL.

Peter Fray

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