A Fat, Juicy Word

I’ve been reading a book on the Gilded Age, code for lavish, over-the-top living in the early 1900s, in the bowels of rich, Victorian New York. A time where Astors, Whitneys and Vanderbilts roamed like diamond laden dinosaurs erecting mansions filled with every opulent item money could buy, all at the helm of the late, great infamous architect, Stanford White.  Unknown.jpeg

In my ghoulish travels, I went down to 26th Street and Madison Avenue where the second Madison Square Garden he designed, once stood, a plaque preening in its lusty, historical lore. It was where, on June 25, 1906, White was gunned down by the unhinged millionaire, Harry Kendall Thaw, Unknown-1.jpeg to retaliate over a previous relationship with his carnal, wild, showgirl of a wife, Evelyn Nesbit images.jpeg the tabloids coining it, The Crime of the Century.

I stood there getting chills.

Mary Cummings, author of, Saving Sin City, penned in 2018, did so in lovely language, always music to this reader’s ear, using a word that stayed with me...corposity, not found in any dictionary.

Carved from the adjective corpulent, basically meaning fat, a half century ago it was used to describe a portly gentleman who was perceived as having, quite a corporation, referring to the size of his stomach. And though it may sound insulting, it was considered a compliment appearing well-fed, a sure sign of prosperity.

Things sure have changed. This was in an era where no one ever heard of a cholesterol count. Livers the size of hams, would occasionally explode like in the case of Reggie Vanderbilt, father of Gloria, who truly drank himself to death. In other words, where eating and drinking were concerned, all bets were off.

If one indeed had a corporation, fleshy, pudgy and plump, you can guarantee he also had a good tailor to let out all seams, cover and conceal the results of an over-active appetite.

Stanford White was only 53 when he died instantly on the Garden’s parquet floor he himself had installed, but during Thaw’s trial who justly ended up in an asylum, it was said, due to White’s flagrant corporation haunting his health, if Thaw had just waited a little longer, he indeed might have died of natural causes.

And, could you please pass the butter, in memory of those tubby, pudgy, overweight gluttons in white tie and tails, proudly preening in their porky, plucky, plus-sized, corpulent, incorporated, corposity.

Words, they give me chills.

SB

 

 

About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in alcohol, art, Beauty, Books, creative writing, Culture, History, humanity, men, New York City, violence, words, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

37 Responses to A Fat, Juicy Word

  1. Guess his corposity didn’t interfere with his sexuality! Hmmm….

    Like

  2. Steve says:

    As I read your post, I suddenly remembered that I drove down Wall Street today; and although this Wall Street is a small road in Vestavia Hills, AL, it fit in to your story because I was coming back from food shopping! 🙂 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was a most interesting post, especially with all the talk about people who ate the proverbial fatted calf. The word corposity seemed bloated. Anyway, I enjoyed it hugely, knowing you always weigh your words carefully.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Corporation is such a euphemism, although apt to a businessman. I wish I wasn’t so incorporated myself. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. robprice59 says:

    A fine example set by the ruling classes. Now the tables are turned. They go to the gym whilst we bulge on chips and burgers. Funny old world!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. skinnyuz2b says:

    I never knew the root of corpulent. Thanks for the info. And I love corposity. So much better than some of the words made up today; like conversate. It hurts my ears when I hear it uttered.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorryless says:

    SB,

    I love the word corpulent, for all the many spokes in its wheels: it’s fat and juicy, it’s prosperous, it’s how those peeps back in the day would’ve phrased “living his best life”. And wow if they didn’t have it all over us when it comes to brevity and romanticism, huh?

    Brava to you for your strong as hell prose and the historical gems you pluck from the canyons.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I, too, love words. My current mentality from stroke, often causes me to forget things in short order, perhaps, to be remembered later when I have no paper or device to remember that I remembered.
    The only words that come to mind right now are propensity, adroit, and malevolent. No connection, I just love to hear the words and see them, of course.
    Scott

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve always thought of those charming Currier and Ives paintings whenever I imagined what it must have been like back in the Victorian era. Along with some ostentatious lifestyles which may have also accompanied many of the figures in those paintings. A charming facade of society conjured up by those quaint old picturesque artistic renderings. A time, long gone by. And yet, beneath all that beauty there seems that there were the same old strains of today too. Jealousy, lust, murder … oh, and the tabloids. Yikes! Have I taken on the voice of Keith Morrison or what? You know, that kind of resonance that we often hear him use on one of those Dateline mysteries, where he starts out all light and wonderful and all, only to slip into that voice of foreboding saying something like “And where was the body? Why, right underneath the parquet floor, in a grave six feet deep—AND 20 FEET WIDE. Perfectly designed for a rotund size corpse. While White looks the aristocrat, and Evelyn Nesbit looks beautiful, Henry Kendall Thaw’s photo looks like he actually could have been a wacko. Yep, “48 Hours”—the Gilded Age version though.

    Like

    • Thaw was wacko. But a weathly one whose mother did everything to keep him out of jail. Doctorow’s book Ragtime tells the story. White was charming despite his dissoluteness. Apparently he had a swing descending from the ceiling of his licentious lair Evelyn used to swing on naked for his amusement. It was quite a time in the old town tonight, to quote the song. Or any night it seems. 🍷

      Like

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