SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Gorilla, guerrilla and other curious attributes of urban narcissism.


A fine 1973 single by Hawkwind, with Lemmy on rhythm bass. Meanwhile the words gorilla and guerrilla have quite different meanings, but have been known to serve as a litmus test for self-indulgence.

Choose Your Words: gorilla/guerrilla

You might see a gorilla in a zoo, but a guerrilla (sometimes spelled with one “r”), is someone who belongs to a group of independent fighters. If you remember your high school Spanish, you’ll know the difference.

A gorilla is a type of large African ape. Sure they fight, but that’s not why they’re called gorillas. When they show up in the news, they’re usually just monkeying around.

A guerrilla, on the other hand, is a fighter who’s a part of a rebellious group that’s battling a government or other authority, and likes to raid and ambush. The word has picked up a casual meaning of describing anything that’s meant to take you by surprise.

So how will knowing your high school Spanish help you keep them straight? Guerrilla comes from the Spanish word for a war made up of skirmishes. That guerilla is related to guerra for (you guessed it), war. If you remember that guerra is war and guerrilla is little war, you’ll remember that in English, independent fighters are guerrillas, no matter how hairy they are.

It’s been only a year (March 11, 2019) since NAC’s celebration of National Gorilla Suit Day, but what the hell.

Here’s Don Martin’s classic National Gorilla Suit Day, soon to be a DNA fundraiser.

One Fine Day in Front of Jimmy’s Music — with apologies to the late, great Don Martin.

I missed National Gorilla Suit Day this year. Actually I’ve missed it every year for decades because when you’re 6′ 4″ and 250 lbs, it’s hard to find such a costume of any sort.

Just now, after picking myself up off the floor after dissolving in the deferred laughter of 40+ years, Diana accuses me of regressing to childhood. Maybe, but a resistance leader needs a good clean laugh, especially in New Gahania.

As all gorilla suit aficionados know, National Gorilla Suit Day is the invention of the late Don Martin, once known at “MAD’s Maddest Artist;” the holiday featured prominently in his 1963 paperback collection, “Don Martin Bounces Back” in which he told the tale of the aforementioned Mr. Bestertester’s opposition to the festivities and the carnage that is visited upon him as a result. The story features people in gorilla suits, gorillas in people suits, gorillas in gorilla suits, and some of each in various other disguises, in a 56-page extravaganza full of Martin’s trademark absurd violence and giggle-inducing sound effects.

I may have spoken too soon.