Short shot #17: Fanshawe the mononome

Ian Frazier’s “Fanshawe”, a humor piece in the November 2 New Yorker, begins:

Fanshawe had just the one name.


In college, Fanshawe’s social set had included an unusual number of men–Neuman,Farrel, Fogel, Harrison, Fegley, Carson, Foster, Ferguson, Sapers, Miles, Northon, Winslow–who were mononomes like himself.

Mononome is a wonderful morphological invention, immediately interpretable in context.

Fanshawe the mononome immediately reminded me of Mr. Spiggott in the Peter Cook and Dudley Moore sketch “One Leg Too Few”, about a one-legged actor auditioning for the part of Tarzan, “a role which traditionally involves the use of a two-legged actor” and so wouldn’t normally be taken by a “unidexter”.

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