Adianoeta: An expression that, in addition to an obvious meaning, carries a second, subtle meaning (often at variance with the ostensible meaning).

I really liked my job. It was an adventure in living. It was 1970. I had landed in New Orleans—in the Vieux Carre—broke and half insane. All I owned in the world was my BSA Thunderbolt motorcycle, my Levi’s, a Brady Bunch T-shirt, motorcycle boots, leather jacket, leather gloves and a helmet. I had a wallet—it held my motorcycle’s registration, my New Jersey driver’s license, and proof of insurance. I had been in the US for six months after returning from Vietnam after being discharged from the Army. My term of service in the war was fun. I was stationed in Saigon, living in my own room in a US government-owned hotel, and having no clear-cut military responsibilities. I had my own Jeep and spent my time chasing whores, smoking weed, drinking Ba Mươi Ba beer and Japanese scotch, and sightseeing. These pursuits were hard to stop when I returned to the US. I had drifted to the Vieux Carre because I had heard it was free flowing—a site of depravity akin to a war zone. I thought I would be able to find a job and melt into the morass. I looked and looked for a job. Luckily, in the meantime, I had found a woman to keep me afloat. She was a waitress, was 22 and had a heart of gold. I specialized in waitresses as my life preservers. I never truly loved any of them, but I was grateful for their help and affection—putting a roof over my head, feeding me, loving me when I showed up, and sadly, crying when I left.

Finally, I landed a job. I was hired as a male “underpants dancer” at Molly’s Magnum 25, a bar that closed for only one hour and drew a crowd considered the most raucous in the Vieux Carre. I was clueless about underpants dancing, and when I showed up for work the first night, I hadn’t bothered to watch a show yet. I asked Molly what I was supposed to do. She said “Stand there and make a humping movement with your hips—speed up and slow down with the music, and every once-in-while make a heavy thrust and turn around and wiggle your ass. Also, always keep a blank look on your face.” Ok! I was ready! For ten bucks an hour and tips, I would’ve run over a baby carriage.

I went to my “dressing” room, took off all my clothes, and pulled on my black spandex panties. I stepped out on the tiny stage elevated about one foot from the floor with no railing or any kind of barrier between me and the audience, who were packed shoulder to shoulder, and almost all women. They were all holding drinks and were yelling things at me like “bounce that weiner baby” or “ass, ass, ass.” It was inspiring! The music started and I started humping. The song was Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs’ “Wooly Bully,” and it was perfect—the women were pushing toward the stage and shoving crumpled-up money into my underpants. When my panties’ crotch was full, I reached in and emptied the bills into a bucket I had on stage. I was having the time of my life when suddenly I saw my mother pushing through the crowd, coming toward me waving a ten-dollar bill in her outstretched hand. “Son” she yelled over the din, “I’m so proud of you!” She handed me the money and smiled. At that, my hip thruster went dead for a second. I wanted to hit her with my money bucket, but, I still wanted to talk to mom and ask her why she had left us with our father, “King Lout”—the drunken idiot who fed us cornflakes and sour milk for dinner and made us beg for money on a street corner in downtown Jersey City. Mom had abandoned us when I was six. I had no fond memories, but I still remembered what she looked like.

Yelling over the music we agreed to meet at the Ruby Slipper at 5:30 for breakfast. She didn’t show up. She never showed up. I carried my bucket full of money back to my waitress’s apartment. She was glad to see me. I showed her my underpants dance and we laughed and we looked into each other’s eyes. Two huge Palmetto bugs skittered up the wall. We laughed again, and holding hands, we headed to the bedroom.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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