Ashleigh Anpilova

Ducky explains what scuttlebutt is.
A Ducky-centric gen story.
Written: August 2008. Word count: 300.



'Scuttlebutt': it is such a lovely word to say; it rolls off one's tongue quite easily.


The word, although now generally known, certainly by anyone connected with the Navy and even beyond that, around the world for 'gossip', originally had another meaning. Indeed, originally it was not one word but two.


In days gone by, the water on a sailing-ship that was intended for immediate consumption was stored in a scuttled butt. A barrel or cask (a butt) had a hole made in it (scuttled) so that water could be withdrawn.


When the sailors gathered around the 'scuttled butt', which soon became 'scuttlebutt' for a drink of water, they tended to exchange gossip. Thus the term 'scuttlebutt' soon became Navy slang for gossip or rumors.


Also many people connected with the Navy use 'scuttlebutt' for the water-cooler, as well as for gossip, so it can, on occasions get a tad confusing.


Over the years I have been privy to a variety of scuttlebutt, both as a result of being told or indeed present when the gossip was being discussed, or by pure change. I am afraid to say that for some people being older also implies being deaf and I am not.


I have also, on more than one occasion, intervened and re-directed any gossip that I have felt not only to be incorrect, but potentially damaging to someone's reputation.


I am sure we all, at some stage, have enjoyed sharing tit-bits of information with our friends and colleagues, and as long as it is harmless, I see no real problem with it.


Indeed, it can be very useful. How else would Jethro manage to keep up the impression that he is omniscient, if I were not able to apprise him of certain things of which I had become aware?



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