mungo

MUNGO.

1. Patron saint of the city of Glasgow.

2. Cheap felted fabric made from waste wool.

3. A dumpster diver – one who extracts valuable things from trash.

4. A river in New Zealand.

5. A town and municipality in Huambo Province in Angola.

6. Mongolian monetary unit worth one hundredth of a tugrik (well, “mongo”)

The word has beautiful appeal, doesn’t it?  All definitions I’ve found, the above.  I think I like #3 the most.  Something about the idea of looking for value in the commonplace, the discards and rejections of more refined tastes.  Making beauty out of the hoi polloi.

I love this word – say it again, draw it out: m u n g o….

The sound of it, an everyman’s sound.  Every village should have one.  Makes me think of a bit character in a Shakespeare play, in the wings and mentioned once.  A footnote in a history book.  Someone’s brother, less accomplished and passed away somewhere.  Once made it as an understudy. A lot of places in Australia.

Yet all those mungos have such disparate meanings!  Maybe that’s part of the beauty of it, the random throw together of flotsam, it just needs a name.  What to call it?  Mungo!  A reliable friend, a word impervious to judgement, a sound that won’t judge you for mispronouncing it.  A perfect name for a dog.

But digging a little further, I find the original of the one hit wonder In the Summer Time, by muttoned Mungo Jerry and his hap-pap-py hirsute friends.  Banjo and jug, foot stomp, yeah.  It may be February, but skip the flippin’ ad, get yourself a neck scarf and start stompin’!

Sing along with us, dee dee dee dee dee
Da da da da da, yeah we’re hap-pap-py
Da da da dee da doo dee da dee da dee da da, yeah
Da da da da da, dee da da de da da
Alright!

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