Checking books that students had brought to class to read yesterday, one girl showed me a copy of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass that included multiple editions as well as extensive editorial material such as analytical essays, biographical notes, and more. It was huge. It was one of the biggest books I’d seen in a long time.
While the young woman and her friends around her took special note of the pretty purple cover, I blurted out, “Wow! I bet you could kill a walrus with that!”
This seems to be a pretty standard unit of measurement with men–just how large of an animal could be bludgeoned with an object. When deciding between, for example, a pair of step ladders, a man must choose either the one that, hypothetically, could be used to kill a mule or the one that could kill a walrus.
And, of course, this also works as a compliment. Truly, there is no higher praise a man could lavish on the briefcase, bowling ball, or newborn baby of another man than something like, “Dude, you could totally kill a buffalo with that.”