by J J Cohen
You might become inordinately drawn to sports involving swordplay, for example. Or you might author modern versions of medieval romances. You could create medieval-themed toys. Or enjoy languishing like a princess. All in all you will be well equipped for lifelong participation in Society for Creative Anachronism events (see illustration, dating from Februray 2002; my son Alex will kill me when he sees it here).
But when it comes to practical things, like excelling on minor social studies quizzes, your medievalist dad is likely to be of less use. Alex has a test today on definitions of medieval terms. You would think that I'd be of the greatest use possible when it comes to getting the facts straight, but alas our conversation went something like this:
Me: Define vassalage.
Alex: Vassalage is the state of owing ...
Me: WRONG. A vassalage is a drinking utensil, such as a wine vassalage. It can also be a synonym for a boat or ship.
Alex: Isn't that a vessel?
Me: Who has the PhD in this room? Define serf.
Alex: A serf is someone bound to the land who --
Me: WRONG. Serf is what you do on the waves in Hawaii. Don't they teach you anything in school?
Alex: I seriously doubt knights went to Hawaii. They would also sink in their chainmail if they tried to ride waves.
Me: I think you underestimate how transnational the European Middle Ages were. They also owned armored Speedos for just such aquatic sport occasions. Define fealty.
Alex: Fealty is sworn loyalty to a --
Me: Again, WRONG. Fealty is what happens to bread that is left out for too long, as in: "Are you sure you want to eat that slice? It looks kind of fealty."
Alex: I think I can study for this quiz by myself, dad. Thanks.
[x-posted to Future Lost Archive]