Package deal

Jon Lighter on ADS-L:

Letterman last night said that Weinergate shows you should “never twitter photos of your deal.”

[In case you’ve been in a media-free cave, Weinergate is the fuss surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner (Democrat of NY) and his posting this photo (from Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government site):

At first Weiner (who seems to pronounce his name like wiener, to add to the charms of the story) maintained that he’d been hacked, but now he’s owned up to it and apologized — but refuses to resign.]

Letterman was recycling a joke from last year. From the 12/9/10 Late Show with David Letterman, at #1 in the Top Ten “Signs You’ll Never Be One of the Most Fascinating People of the Year”:

1. Thought it was a good idea to text people photos of your deal. (link)

And it wasn’t new then. From an Urban Dictionary entry on deal, from 2008:

it’s a word with many meanings, and one of the best ones is that its another term for a penis. the word is especially used by talk show host david letterman, who often refers to the male apendage as a “deal” in his dirty jokes.

on letterman last night, they had the top 10 craziest valentine card messages. one said, “i knew you were mine when you didn’t laugh at the size of my deal.” it’s a funny way to make a cock joke. (by PaperClipper, Feb. 12, 2008)

Another entry in the Urban Dictionary:

to have a large penis

yo check out my deal yo (by BigDeal, Feb. 26, 2004)

The usage probably comes from the widespread use of deal as a vague filler word (when you don’t know the right word, or can’t retrieve it at the moment, or want to avoid it for some reason). But it does make expressions like big deal, a done deal, deal with it, and deal-breaker entertaining. Similarly with references to the sizes of deals in sports, as here:

Vernon Wells [of the Toronto Blue Jays], on the other hand, has significantly underperformed relative to the size of his deal. (link)

If more people pick up the Lettermanian use of deal, the word may slide into the suggestive gray area of package (which I’ve posted about several times here) and junk (see “Genital junk”, here). Here’s Ben Zimmer on ADS-L making the junk-deal connection:

In my On Language column on genital “junk” in January, I quoted Arnold Zwicky and Tom Dalzell on the useful vagueness of “junk” and such related euphemisms as “down there,” “unit,” “thing,” and “stuff”:

Lettermanian “deal” fits well into that category.

(I still consider getting the “junk” column past the NYT copy desk something of personal triumph. Interestingly enough, I didn’t receive a single complaint about the explicit quote from Ethan Mordden’s gay erotica, but many readers took me to task for not exploring “junk in the trunk” — see Arnold’s post for more on that.)

3 Responses to “Package deal

  1. Package vocabulary « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] earlier postings on this blog (“Genital junk”, here, and “Package deal”, here), we’ve seen: deal, package, junk, unit, stuff, family jewels, tenders, […]

  2. The news for penises « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] penis. Then there’s Anthony Weiner’s penis, last encountered on this blog here. Not long after came Tom Tomorrow’s cartoon commentary on the […]

  3. NY Post headlines | Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Weinergate, see here.) Widely reported on the net. Surely intentional. This is the Post, after all. Now from the same […]

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