Mr. Nutz sez …

… “Pull my tail, and see my eye light up!” Mr. Nutz is a squirrel of brass, also a notorious flasher (if you don’t pull his tail, he’ll do it himself, in the road) — all at once a squirrel, a brass sculpture, a flasher, and a flashlight too (alas, though he tries to be all things to all people, he is neither a floor wax nor a dessert topping). The eye in his brass face lights up lewdly to show us the way to squirrel verse #2:

We’ll walk in the light, beautiful light,
Come where the dew-drops of morning are bright;
Shine all around us by day and by night,
Squirrels, the light of the world.

(Truly, no squirrel’s light was ever hidden under a basket. Mr. Nutz is not only brazen and bawdy, but also bold and boastful. And, he truly believes, beautiful.)

(My sciurid versification began in the 11/23/21 posting, “Squirrel verse #1”. [Added 12/1: the original of squirrel verse #2 is the topic of my 12/13/10 posting “Jesus, the Light of the World”.])

Mr. Nutz came to me via Sim Aberson on Facebook on 11/27, in a posting on The Wolfsonian site (at Florida International Univ.), “A Wild, Wacky Wolfsonian Shopping Guide” by Erin Heffron on 11/26:

(#1) Apparently from an old newspaper, an ad for Wm. Ball & Sons, West Chester PA, a maker of brass hardware for antique furniture in the period roughly from the 1920s through the 1940s

My FB response to Mr. Nutz:

Pull my tail, and my eyes light up, too. Admittedly, though, I’m no flashlight.

A jumble of stuff to talk about here. I will silently pass over a variety of things named Mr. Nutz or Mr. Nuts, other than the thing in #1. But then: a small sampling of the wide world of lighting devices in the shape of squirrels (who knew?); the sexual or sexually tinged vocabulary related to pull my tail; and other kinds of tail-pulling, plus some finger-pulling.

Squirrels will light the way. Beyond Mr. Nutz, bizarrely charming though he is. Two diverse creations of sciurid commercial art.

—  from the Artnet site (no price given), this decidedly edgy pieceSquirrel Wall Light, a pair of lights, a 2010 work by British artist Alex Randall (born 1982):

(#2) Silk lampshades, taxidermy squirrels (“humanely sourced”, according to the site, which might mean they died naturally or in accidents, but probably just means they were euthanized by injection or inhalation)

— from the Studio Brillantine site, the Nutty the Squirrel Light ($110 + $40 shipping):

(#3) (ad copy:) “With Heico [a German firm] light objects, a whole dream world opens up! The light gives a very soft and veiled light and is also a nice decorative object. Traditionally made and painted by hand! An ideal light for children of all ages. It may also be displayed by a chest of drawers, counter or corner of a room.”

Pull my tail. Meant literally in #1: the tail of the squirrel flashlight is its on-off switch. But then there are senses of tail and pull that the copy writers for the ad surely did not have in mind.

— the noun tail ‘buttocks, ass’,  but also (from Chaucer on) ‘penis’. The first begins with an animal’s tail, extended metonymically to the animal’s hindquarters and then metaphorically to the hindquarters, the buttocks, of human beings. The second is a metaphorical development from an animal’s tail as an elongated object to the penis.

— the verb pull. Beyond the caused-motion uses of this verb, from GDoS:

7 to masturbate; usu. in comb. with a n. meaning penis [e.g. pull one’s pud, pull one’s pork, pull one’s duff, pull one’s taffy] [GDoS has a 1994 cite with pulling himself ‘masturbating’]

And then for the verb pull off:

2 to masturbate, oneself or another person [with, among the cites: from 1909 James Joyce pulled myself off; 1922 James Joyce pulled him off into my handkerchief; and 1970 go to the head and pull off (intransitive understood reflexively)]

Similarly in OED3 (Sept. 2007):

P13. coarse slang.  to pull one’s (or the) pud (also pudding, wire, etc.): (of a man) to masturbate. [1st cite 1927]

And for to pull off:

5.  transitive (frequently reflexive). coarse slang. To masturbate (a man); to cause (a man) to ejaculate by masturbation. [1st cite the 1909 Joyce]

In any case, we then get pull s.o.‘s tail ‘masturbate s.o., jack s.o. off’. And, indeed, if you pull my tail in that sense, my eyes will light up. Of squirrels I cannot speak, but I’d advise against trying to masturbate them.

Pulling tails and fingers. An assortment of cultural practices.

— pulling an animal’s tail, as a way of teasing or pestering the animal; pulling someone’s ponytail, as a way of teasing or pestering them

— Pull My Tail, a tagging game for children

— a traditional riddle: Round as a button, Deep as a well. If you want me to talk, You must first pull my tail. What am I? (Answer: a bell. The rope for ringing the bell is its tail.)

— an antique cow toy: pull its tail and it moos

— (cousin to the cow toy) from Wikipedia:

Pull my finger is a joke or prank regarding flatulence in which a victim is asked to pull the finger of the joker, who simultaneously breaks wind so as to suggest a causal relationship between the two events. [with many variants]

3 Responses to “Mr. Nutz sez …”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    I note that, at least according to my (now fairly old) Cassell’s German-English dictionary, the German word Schwanz has the tail of an animal as its primary meaning, but is also slang for penis, roughly equivalent to English cock and prick.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Indeed, and I’ve probably remarked on that in an earlier posting. Also on French queue ‘tail (of an animal), (slang) penis’. No doubt this natural metaphor has been exploited in plenty of languages (including those beyond Indo-European).

  2. G Doorenbos Says:

    E.g. Hungarian farok ‘tail; penis’ (

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: