Friday Special: A Platypus Plural Problem

by Jotham Klein

      Every Friday, the Punch Bowl allows any member of its staff to submit a column for the website. Today the staff troubadour, Jotham Klein, spun us this poem.


We, members of the platypus species, have
         Made an observation
It is just a small matter which concerns
        The whole platypus population

For the English language has created a conundrum
        On forms of many or one
We don’t know to which source to turn
        What ever, we ask, is to be done?

A proper term for the plural of our species
        We cannot rectify
Are we platypuses –
                              Or are we platypi?

The dictionary has been equivocal
        The encyclopedia was of no use
A mouse and a mouse become mice, of course
        Geese are a grouping of goose

Then we found, when you plant two spruce trees nearby,
        You will have two spruces
But when you have one moose and add another,
        You do not end up with two mooses

It gets confusing, for a hypothesis and another
        Become hypothesi,
But a crisis and one more become crises,
        Two buses are not two busi

So when it comes to us, I’m afraid
        There is no clear solution
Is this just a lingual accident?
        A mishap in elocution?

Or is it a problem of mammal hierarchy
        Other “full-fledged” mammals getting a laugh?
We lay eggs, instead of giving full birth
        Do you consider us only mammals-by-half?

And if so, we find you humans to be very rude
        And dirty with your vernacular spite
This is not the way to make friends with the animals
        Do two wrongs make a right?

But if this is all a big misunderstanding
        We humbly apologize and look for solutions
But if you are making fun of us, after all
        Prepare for your coming executions.

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