20060301

Solar Power

Ah, the power of the internet. Twenty years ago, when I was but a small child, I obsessively read "Hardy Boys" books. Two things puzzled me about these books: firstly, how come at the end of each book the author could give the name of the next book in the series: surely this meant that he must have had the entire series planned out in advance? And secondly, what on earth was the 'solar plexus'? The hardy boys were forever punching bad guys in the solar plexus and causing them a remarkable amount of pain or incapacity. But my feeble English dictionaries failed to define the solar plexus. For a long time, I just assumed that this was a polite americanism for punching them in the balls. Well, thanks to the internet, it is the matter of moments to determine that it is closer to the stomach and the diaphragm. A Hardy Boys mystery solved at last.

The other HB hangover from my youth was the concept of a "station wagon". The term was completely alien to me. Clearly it was some kind of motor vehicle, but I think I had visualized something akin to a horseless wagon, motorized but still with the big wheels and canvas covering.

Well, give me a break, I was about seven at the time.

3 comments:

AC said...

Heh, I do recall learning the term 'solar plexus' from the great HB books.

BTW, another interesting feature of the books is that every chapter except the last one ends with an exclamation mark.

nick said...

I didn't read the Hardy Boys, but the solar plexus did seem to get mentioned a lot in some books I read as a kiddie (Dr Who books, possibly?). That and objects "connecting with the temples" causing someone to be knocked out.

msw said...

Chet! Pancakes for breakfast. I have lived in the US for eight months now and I have not met anyone called Chet, seen anyone eat pancakes for breakfast, heard the phrase "station wagon", or been punched in the solar plexus. Those books were misleading.