The horse on Seventh Avenue

A cartoon posted on Facebook by Stephen Zunes, who might or might not be its artist (hat tip to David Kathman):

Ah, a mishearing, leading to this excellent phonologically minimal mondegreen.

The model is Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”:

Asking only workman’s wages
I come looking for a job
But I get no offers
Just a come-on from the whores
On Seventh Avenue
I do declare
There were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there

The original has whores, with final /z/; the cartoon has horse, with final /s/. It’s just voicing — and in final position, the voiced /z/ of whores is actually quite short, but (on the other hand) its voicing lengthens the the preceding vowel nucleus considerably, which makes whores quite notably “longer” than horse.

I’m not in a position to judge the likelihood of being solicited sexually by any type of creature on Seventh Avenue. Nor do I recall what life was like on Seventh Avenue back in 1970, when Simon and Garfunkel recorded Bridge over Troubed Water.


4 Responses to “The horse on Seventh Avenue”

  1. Michael Newman Says:

    As someone who was there in 1970 (Stuyvesant High School, class of ’74), I assure you that you could get come ons from various fauna on 7th avenue at least around high 30s low 40s. About that year, I was pursued by some ephebophile down various blocks. I think it was in that area. But there were plenty of sex workers too, not particularly interested in 14 year old gay Jewish boys.

  2. débora Ewing Says:

    has anyone verified the source of this magnificent drawing yet?

Leave a Reply