We read Fitt 3 of the classic English poem, Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, as translated by Simon Armitage. Who wrote it? We still don’t know. In this section, Sir Gawain gets involved in a weird bisexual power trip with his mysterious hosts. It’s odd! Jackie gets impossible feedback. Rachel gets vaccinated and reveals a hitherto undiscovered skill! Theo’s just doin’ his thing. Topics include: irresponsible youthful tattoos, LIMERICKPALOOZA, aminals, good host/bad host, Wikipedia holes, da snort vs. da snozzle, Chekhov’s old crone, and commendations to Christ.
Content warning: animal death, sex, pornography
We read Fitt 3 of the classic English poem, Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, as translated by Simon Armitage. Who wrote it? We still don’t know. In this section, Sir Gawain gets involved in a weird bisexual power trip with his mysterious hosts. It’s odd! Jackie gets impossible feedback. Rachel gets vaccinated and reveals a hitherto undiscovered skill! Theo’s just doin’ his thing. Topics include: irresponsible youthful tattoos, LIMERICKPALOOZA, aminals, good host/bad host, Wikipedia holes, da snort vs. da snozzle, Chekhov’s old crone, and commendations to Christ.
Content warning: animal death, sex, pornography
What is Fire the Canon?
Prefer your books in comedy form, but still want to sound smart at parties? We got you. Discover the hilarity hidden in the classics with new episodes every Thursday.
RACHEL: Okay, I’m going to send the quote. I think you guys will find this very appropriate.
THEO: Aww! This is perfect for us! Okay. "No man felt more at home, tucked in between those two: the cute one and the crone. Their gladness grew and grew.”
RACHEL: You see why I was laughing?! Because he said it was perfect for us!
JACKIE: You better answer right goddamn now who you think is the cute one and who you think is the crone!
THEO: Oh, this is us?
RACHEL: Nice save.
JACKIE: Hi everyone! Welcome to Fire the Canon, the podcast where we read the books in the Western canon and decide if they belong or not!
RACHEL, mocking Jackie: Hi everyone!
JACKIE: Hi everyone!
THEO: There's also purring on your track. So, let's, uh…
JACKIE: Theo, everyone loves this content.
RACHEL: Have you gotten that feedback?
THEO: That's impossible.
JACKIE: Today we’re discussing –
RACHEL: Because no one could love it?
THEO: It’s the kind of content only a mother could love.
JACKIE: Hey shut up, Theo. Today we're discussing Fitt three of four of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the translation by Simon Armitage.
THEO: Did we get the full intro? We didn't introduce ourselves or anything.
RACHEL: Yeah, and the aforementioned ‘ we’ are…?
JACKIE: My name is Jackie.
RACHEL: And… but what do you do on this podcast?
JACKIE: I bring in the cats!
RACHEL: No, she's a host, and she's not allowed to have cats on the pod.
THEO: The question you're actually answering, Jackie, was, ‘how do you ruin the podcast?’ “I bring in the cats.”
JACKIE: I’m a host! No, I’m a host and the more that you try and step on my liberty, the more I’m going to…
RACHEL: Don't tread on me.
JACKIE: Don’t tread on me.
RACHEL: That kind of thing I’m Rachel, I’m the other host.
THEO: I’m Theo, I’m the producer. I’m so glad to be here with you guys today.
JACKIE: My cat's head is bleeding.
RACHEL: His happiness is growing and growing.
THEO: This is so off the rails, because that darn cat and its bloody head! So Jackie has recently gotten fillings in her teeth, they're all filled up; Rachel got a shot today that has her all loopy, I guess? That's the only explanation I can figure out.
JACKIE: Rachel got the autism shot.
RACHEL: Yeah, I got vaccinated today, and the nurse who gave me my vaccine, while she was giving the vaccine she said, “Wow, you have very nice, tough skin. It doesn't want to let me in, but that's good, that's what skin is supposed to do. But this time I’ve got to get this vaccine in there.”
JACKIE: “That's good! That's what skin is supposed to do.”
THEO: Was she making eye contact with you when she said that?
RACHEL: No, I wasn’t looking. I didn’t want to watch while she was trying to shove a needle in my nice, tough skin.
THEO: Did she whisper it in your ear?
RACHEL: No, she just said it to me. You got your vaccine, you know how close they sit to you!
THEO: I don’t know how close this very strange persons sits to you.
JACKIE: It is very strange. When I got my vaccine, it was January and I was really excited because, like, not a lot of people had it yet.
JACKIE: And I was so excited that I had them take my picture. The person who was giving me the vaccine in the picture didn't have a mask on, and everybody was just like, “Why is that lady not wearing a mask while she's vaccinating you?” And I was like, I don’t know, but this kind of ruined my enjoyment of this photo.
THEO: Oh man. You got to get somebody to photoshop that for you.
RACHEL: Stephen could do it.
JACKIE: Okay, well, here's the story about a boy who doesn't have very nice tough skin that doesn't admit needles.
RACHEL: Yeah, okay, so our friend from college, Josh… let's call him Josh X, or Josh D, I guess. Josh D, that’s fine.
THEO: The Soda Monster?
JACKIE: The Soda Monster?
THEO: Bad guess.
RACHEL: Okay, so Josh lived on our hall…
JACKIE: We smooched a couple times. After the tattoo.
THEO: Wait. Why did you - why did you say that?
JACKIE: Because Rachel knows about it.
THEO: Is it important for the story that you smooched a lot or are you just bragging?
RACHEL: You'll see why it's funny that she made out with him.
JACKIE: It’s not bragging!
JACKIE: After this tattoo was done, I still was like, ‘yeah!’
RACHEL: Okay. So what happened was, Stephen had a tattoo on his ankle that he and a friend had given… they made like these, you know like, prison-style tattoo guns out of like an electric toothbrush and some needles and stuff, and using like a ballpoint pen.
THEO Love it.
RACHEL: And Josh was like, “That's really cool. I would like to get one of those.”
JACKIE: “I too would like a prison tat.”
RACHEL: I guess Stephen thought he was joking, but he came back and he's like, “No yeah, I’m serious. I want to get that ‘Don't Tread on Me’ flag with the snake or whatever.”
JACKIE: On his upper back, like across the whole back.
RACHEL: On his, like on his shoulder.
JACKIE: Okay, but it was on the back.
RACHEL: Yeah. Yeah, the flat of his back.
RACHEL: He did that, but he was very nervous. I mean nobody was pressuring him to do this. In fact, people were like, “DON’T do it,” but he really wanted it.
JACKIE: Stephen’s saying, “Don't do it,” as he's creating his toothbrush gun.
RACHEL: Yeah, “Oh stop!”
RACHEL: “Don't make me.”
JACKIE: “Oh no, it's a bad idea!”
RACHEL: Yeah. So Josh, we knew he was drinking a lot, like a lot of alcohol, but we didn't know he had taken a bunch of pain killers. So, while Stephen was tattooing this on him - this is appropriate - he literally turned bright green. He was the color green. That is the greenest I have ever seen a person in my life.
JACKIE: And it was at that moment that I was like, “MmHMM. Kermit.”
RACHEL: We saw how green he was and we were like, “Josh, are you okay?” and I think that's when he was like, “Oh yeah, sorry, I’ve just been drinking a lot and I’m on a bunch of pain killers. I’m gonna go throw up.” And then he threw up and he came back and he looked totally fine and he's like, “All right, let's continue.” So Stephen gave him the tattoo -
JACKIE: Well it was kind of all crooked, like…
RACHEL: It was crooked, for one thing, yeah, because he didn't draw it first…
JACKIE: And Stephen's an artist, but he's not a tattoo artist…
RACHEL: He'd never done something like that. The other thing was like the kerning of the words was really bad. The ‘don't tread on me’, it was like, “Do nt tread on me”.
JACKIE: It was all like misspaced and crooked and…
THEO: Gosh. What is the point during that when Stephen realizes, ‘I’m doing this so badly, but I just have to keep going’.
JACKIE: I think once you get a couple letters on you have to keep going, yeah.
RACHEL: Yeah, I think the problem was like, the original flag doesn't have an apostrophe, but maybe Josh wanted one? But I don’t remember exactly.
THEO: That was the problem?
JACKIE: Yeah, I’m sure that was the only problem.
RACHEL: Yeah, that was the only problem. So later, I think a year or two on, I think we saw him again and he showed it to Stephen. And Stephen was like, “It looked okay,” but he said a bunch of the lines had totally faded because, obviously, like, the needle didn't go that deep.
JACKIE: Well, good, I hope the whole thing fades eventually.
RACHEL: But so anyway, UNC, that's what happened in one of your dorm rooms.
JACKIE: I’m sure much worse things happened in other dorm rooms.
RACHEL: Oh yeah, definitely. I don’t THINK this was a crime.
JACKIE: “I don’t THINK this was a crime.”
RACHEL: I know it's a crime in some places.
JACKIE: I mean, probably all the underage drinking was.
RACHEL: Josh was 21.
JACKIE: When we were freshmen?
RACHEL: I think so, because I think he was a junior when we were freshmen.
JACKIE: Oh yeah, he was a junior, okay. Yeah, now it's a brag.
RACHEL: Yeah, Jackie made out with a junior when she was just a freshman.
JACKIE: I got an older guy with great judgment!
THEO: And the most beautiful green skin!
JACKIE: The most beautiful emerald green skin.
THEO: You guys really should have called him the Green Knight from then on.
RACHEL: Well, we weren't really thinking it through. We were, we were idiots, when you put it that way.
JACKIE: We were idiots. And this was also like a couple years later, I was having a birthday party and Rachel ran into this guy in the quad and said, “Oh hey, you should come over, Jackie’s having a birthday party,” and he goes, “I have a girlfriend!”
RACHEL: And then backed away for like fifteen feet and then turned around and started running.
THEO: You're talking about - this is the same guy who you made out with.
RACHEL: The tattoo boy, yeah.
RACHEL: So they made out like, twice, and then years later, when we ran into him and I invited him to Jackie's birthday party -
JACKIE: He thought this off-the-cuff invitation from Rachel means, like, a proposal of marriage or something, yeah.
THEO: Yeah yeah yeah.
THEO: Sometimes Rachel wiggles her eyebrows, though.
JACKIE: She does, she does tend to do -
RACHEL: I don’t think I- he wasn't close to me, like he was standing - even if I was wiggling them, I don’t think he would have noticed.
THEO: What?! How far aware was he? I will notice a wiggled eyebrow.
RACHEL: You will?
RACHEL: I’m going to message him. I’ll say, “How's your tattoo?”
RACHEL: I’m not gonna say, “Why did you run away when I invited you to –“
JACKIE: I have a boyfriend!
RACHEL: I’m not allowed to ask how his tattoo is because Jackie has a boyfriend.
JACKIE: Why don't we talk about the book?
RACHEL: You still think this is going to be a ridiculously short episode?
JACKIE: I mean once we cut all that, maybe.
THEO: That story was fascinating.
RACHEL: Theo’s like, “I can’t envision someone who's more different from myself.”
THEO: Than that green man?
RACHEL: Yeah, the green, drunk man who was taking a bunch of pain killers and got a friend to give him a prison tattoo.
THEO: I can’t see myself being his friend at the moment.
RACHEL: “I can’t see myself making out with Jackie.” Is that what you're thinking?
THEO: Yeah, that -
RACHEL: “That's the crazy part!”
THEO: That's the judgment that I really question, yeah.
JACKIE: Yeah. His judgment was fine on all the other stuff, but…
THEO: Yeah, right.
THEO: That was rude of me.
JACKIE: Bad times. Hey, Rachel's the one who brought it up.
RACHEL: He agreed.
THEO: She is the nasty one.
RACHEL: It's not NASTY to make out with Jackie.
JACKIE: Well, you wouldn't know, would you, Rachel?
RACHEL: I don’t want to know.
THEO: It seems like Jackie was offended you didn't call it nasty.
RACHEL: “How dare you not know firsthand how nasty it is to make out with me?”
JACKIE: Let's just put it this way: Sir Gawain would not have liked it.
THEO: Total crone action.
RACHEL: Toblerone action?
JACKIE: All right, well, write in with a, with a review of what you thought it was like.
RACHEL: Write in with a review of making out with Jackie.
RACHEL: Five stars: nasty.
THEO: Yeah. Basically, we just need like nasty or not.
JACKIE: Nasty or not! It could be a Patreon exclusive.
RACHEL: We'll get all of Jackie’s exes - not all of them, some of them – to record a little bit where they just say nasty or not.
JACKIE: Some of them are –
RACHEL: We could probably get Kip. You don't think we could get Kip to record a little sound byte?
THEO: Why do you always bring up Kip?
RACHEL: He's the funniest one.
JACKIE: Okay, let's everybody just hop off here.
JACKIE: All right, Fitt three, Rachel, ready?
THEO: Wait, Can we recap what we've done so far?
RACHEL: Can you?
THEO: Okay, well, I can.
JACKIE: Sure. Kip…
THEO: It was some… no, what we did on the previous episode, not the current episode.
THEO: So unbelievably nasty.
JACKIE: That was a lie! It was a lie, it was a joke, it was a lie, I’m sorry.
THEO: Okay, so it once was a fateful Christmas night, and -
RACHEL: Man, if you had just burst into an impromptu limerick, I would have loved it.
JACKIE: Maybe he was. Maybe you cut him off.
RACHEL: ‘There once was a knight named Gawain.’
THEO: Oh! ‘And some would think this story insane!’ There are probably too many syllables there.
RACHEL: “He met a green knight, and put up a fight.”
THEO: OH! “But perhaps by the end, he'll be slain!”
[RACHEL gasps dramatically; THEO guffaws]
JACKIE: Theo’s so proud of himself.
RACHEL: I can’t believe Jackie is the only one who didn't contribute to the limerick.
RACHEL: Didn't you take a whole semester-long course on limerickology?
JACKIE: No, are you joking? (ripping sound) Ow, oh my God!
THEO: Wasn’t that like, your master’s?
RACHEL: That's one of the foundational forms of poetry.
THEO: Let me guess – cat?
JACKIE: Yeah. (all laugh) All right. This is going well for me.
RACHEL: What did she do to you?
JACKIE: She scratched me.
THEO: With her vicious claws!
JACKIE: She didn't mean to. She was trying to jump on my lap.
RACHEL: She didn’t mean to? She purposely scratches you all the time.
JACKIE: No, she tried to jump on my lap and she scratched me real bad, but I did try to close my closet door. It just wouldn't work. Man, this episode is not going well for me.
RACHEL: Poor Jackie.
THEO: No, you got this, Jacko!
JACKIE: No, I’m the crone, everybody called me nasty...!
RACHEL: “I made out with Josh!”
THEO: You’re the Nasty Kissin’ Crone.
RACHEL: You said it was nasty yourself! Look, it's fine.
JACKIE: It’s a joke.
RACHEL: I don’t care, I’ll be nasty. Who cares?
THEO: Okay, Rachel's the nasty one.
RACHEL: If it makes you feel better, like it truly doesn't bother me at all if you choose to believe I’m the nasty one.
JACKIE: No, as long as people don't actually believe I’m nasty…
RACHEL: Your slings and arrows have no effect on me. So, let's, let's tell people what happened. In the form of yet another limerick. Let's see how many limericks we can bust out.
THEO: Okay, we’re going to do three limericks.
JACKIE: Well, then, let me write it down.
RACHEL: Are we all writing or own or no, I think Theo and I already did a great one.
THEO: No, we got to do another one.
RACHEL: Are you serious? Are we all just doing the story in limerick form?
THEO: I don’t think I can do this.
RACHEL: You could have agreed with me when I said we didn't need to do one!
THEO, as narrator: Two minutes later…
RACHEL: Okay, Theo, you do yours.
THEO: I don’t have one!
JACKIE: “I don’t have one!” No, I’ll go first since mine's going to be worse. “In the first episode of this series, there was jousting, and wine-ies, and beeries!”
RACHEL: That's good!
JACKIE: T’was a horse that was green, and a knight that was mean, giving rise to literary theories.”
RACHEL: Nice. That really tells people what we do here. All right. “At Christmas in King Arthur's court, a knight came and offered some sport. “Let's trade blows,” he said. Gawain cut off his head. Yes, our hero committed a tort.”
JACKIE: Great lawyer joke!
RACHEL: “The Knight's head rolled on the ground. The other knights kicked it around. Then he picked up his head, because he's not dead. But hey, a new axe Gawain found.”
JACKIE: Well, I think that's really all we need.
RACHEL: Yeah, okay, listen! Basically, this is what happens. King Arthur – it's around Christmas time, everyone's partying, Arthur's like, “I’m bored, I’m bored.” A totally green, totally hot man shows up and says, “Hey, uh, I’ll give you my axe if you play a little game.”
JACKIE, in Gimli voice: “And MY axe!”
RACHEL: “You get to hit me one time, and then I get to hit you a year and a day from now. Let's do it.” And everyone's like, “No that's stupid.” And he says, “Are you seriously the Knights of King Arthur's court? Are you seriously men and you won't play this little game with me?” So Gawain eventually is like, “I’ll do it, I’m just a little boy!”
JACKIE: “I’m just a young hot, stupid boy.”
RACHEL: Yeah, “I’m just a young himbo who needs to make a name for myself. So I’ll play this game.” So he cuts off the guy's head and the guy picks his head up and says, “All right, you need to find me in a year and a day! Everyone knows where I live! See ya.” And he leaves, so Gawain - close to next year's Christmas, Gawain sets off on this quest to get beheaded. And he kills some guys minding their own business and also some animals minding their own business and then he finds this castle. Everyone welcomes him, they're so happy. They all think he's really good-looking. And he meets the beautiful wife of his host, and her ugly old friend –
JACKIE: And then he meets Rachel and Jackie.
RACHEL: No, no, no.
RACHEL: That's just a joke, Jackie you don't have to…
JACKIE: “You don't have to keep bringing it up.”
[Sounds of muffled microphone shuffling]
RACHEL: Do you need me to wait a second?
THEO: I’m just doing my thing!
JACKIE: Yeah, Theo sounds like he's like, undoing his entire apartment right now.
RACHEL: He’s just doing his thang.
THEO: Yeah, just CTRL-Z on the apartment. Shouldn't have done this one.
RACHEL: So then the lord says to Gawain, “Oh this is so fun. Let's play a little game, I’m going to go hunting. You should hang out at my castle with my wife and the game is I will give you anything I find tomorrow and you give me anything you find tomorrow. Won't that be great?” and Gawain says, “Wow. This guy knows how to have a game. That sounds awesome, let's do it,” but he tells him, “Well, here's the problem, is I’ve got to find this Green Knight.” And the guy says, “Oh, the Green Knight? He lives two miles away, like, I’ll take you to him in a couple days. Don't worry about it.” So Gawain’s like, “Oh awesome, okay, I can relax for a couple more days.” So now you're all caught up!
JACKIE: Now you're all caught up. What I think Gawain should have done is he should have spent that year and the day, like, really really really working up his neck muscles, so they're like impossible to sever. Like every day he should just be like -
RACHEL: Just bobbing his head?
JACKIE: Yeah, like a pigeon.
RACHEL: Houdini knew a way to tighten his ab muscles, you know?
JACKIE: Yeah, that's why he got killed by the punch, because he wasn't ready.
THEO: Wait. I have a limerick now. It's very bad.
RACHEL: Oh, that's what you were wiggling your mic for, was to distract us?
THEO: Yeah! “I need more time for my limerick!”
JACKIE: Every time we hear his mic make a sound we're like, “Theo’s writing another goddamn poem.”
THEO: It's not based in reality, it - the premise of it is that I didn’t like the conversation we had about the Green Knight’s pubes. All right?
RACHEL: Uh-huh, but in reality…
RACHEL and JACKIE simultaneously: You loved it.
THEO: I loved it, yeah. So here's, here's the limerick. It’s significantly worse than either of yours. “There once was a producer named Theo. He aches to – oh gosh this is terrible.”
JACKIE: Is this in Middle English? “He aches to..”
THEO: “He itched to be set free, though, from stories of dudes without emerald pubes. Turns out that guy was me. D’oh!”
JACKIE: All right, let's get into Fitt three here.
RACHEL: As I was trying to say, I was trying to give a little bit of literary analysis before we went on a bunch of tangents, wrote a bunch of limericks. And the way that this fit is set up is kind of interesting, because it's three days and it alternates between a scene of the lord hunting and Gawain dealing with the lord's wife in the castle. They're sort of mirror images of each other and scholars usually try to draw parallels between the different scenes.
THEO: The amorous pursuit!
THEO: And the pursuit of the wild animals!
RACHEL: The aminals.
JACKIE: But which is which?!?!?
THEO: The aminalous! “But which is which?” Is that what Jackie said, trying to… inspire some curiosity?
THEO: In our listeners?
RACHEL: Yeah our listeners do not - they don't give a fuck, they just sit there.
THEO: They don't want to be curious.
RACHEL: “Curiosity? Uh, no.”
JACKIE: I disagree. I think they're not giving you guys enough credit.
RACHEL: Are you talking directly to the listener now?
JACKIE: Yeah, we're playing good host/bad host.
THEO: I’m gonna edit that out so bad. When I was in high school there is this one really mean teacher. Whenever we didn't know something she would say, “Do you not have any intellectual curiosity?” It's like, whoa, we didn't know when barbed wire was invented, sorry!
JACKIE: Is intellectual curiosity what teaches you things? I mean…
RACHEL: It's what makes you go on Wikipedia.
THEO: Back in high school they didn't really have much of a Wikipedia.
JACKIE: Not in Theo’s high school!
RACHEL: There was Wikipedia when I was in high school, and I’m a year older than you.
THEO: Yeah, but it wasn't really like filled out to the same extent.
JACKIE: Every article existed, but they were all stubs.
JACKIE: Barbed wire: this article’s a stub!
RACHEL: There were hardly any stars, yeah.
THEO: This article is a stub, please help out!
RACHEL: Please, won’t someone with intellectual curiosity fill this out?
THEO: I love that idea of just like, when they launched it, it was all just terrible content, and it just took forever to get up and running. NOT like this podcast. Don't you DARE draw parallels.
RACHEL: Yeah, don't you dare.
JACKIE: Sorry, this episode is a stub. We need someone to help out.
THEO: Yeah, so far it has been a stub.
RACHEL: What are you talking about? I’ve made one comment about the topic! Hardly stub-like!
THEO: Let's grow these stubs into full limbs. Onto the… whatever Rachel was about to do.
RACHEL: Talk about the poem?!
THEO: Yeah, that'd be cool.
RACHEL: Okay, yeah. I think it would. All right so in the first section, the lord wakes up early and he and his bros all go outside and they hunt deer all day long. They're just hunting these deer, and you know, of course the hounds are involved. There's a lot of people doing things, they're yelling stuff, blah blah blah. They end up killing some, and the lord, it says, “His heart leaps with life,” and he like hacks at the dead deer, and he's like, “What a great day in the woods.”
JACKIE: There's a line that just says, “What! They bleat as they bleed and they die on the banks.”
JACKIE: Why does it start with “What!”
THEO: Someone was looking at them horrified. “What?! They bleed?”
RACHEL: “What?! These things have blood in them?”
JACKIE: “I just cleaned these banks!”
THEO: Yeah, the camera turns and there's someone with like, Clorox and a rag just looking at them like, “What did you do?”
JACKIE: “These were pristine!”
RACHEL: “There was hardly any deer blood at all on these bad boys, and now look at them!” Whew, okay, so Gawain, meanwhile, is snoozing in his room. He's just like, sleeping the day away, he's having a great time. And then he hears the sound of the door opening and he like, peeks through the curtain –
JACKIE: The curtain of the bed.
RACHEL: - and he sees the lady looking her loveliest, craftily sneaking into the room and getting closer, and it says he felt nervous. So can you guess what he did, Theo?
THEO: What I would do or what he would do?
RACHEL: What do you think he did -
JACKIE: Let’s go with what you would -
RACHEL: Or no, okay, what would you do?
JACKIE: Tell us what you would do.
THEO: I would definitely just pretend I was still asleep.
JACKIE: That's what he did.
RACHEL: Ding ding ding!
THEO: I’m so heroic!
JACKIE: Did you know that because I said pretend?
RACHEL: Yeah, you are, you're so heroic. So maybe you can put in a little like ding ding ding sound instead of me saying it. Sound effects, Jackie loves those.
THEO: Wait, is the Ding Ding Ding for every time I show some sort of heroism?
RACHEL: No, it's because you guessed correctly.
JACKIE: You guess correctly.
THEO: Okay, then we’re going to need another stinger for the heroism. Okay, go Jackie.
RACHEL: “WOMP WOMP WOMP WAAA!” That’s when you're showing heroism.
THEO: Okay, Jackie’s – Jackie’s got to talk. Go, Jackie.”
JACKIE: So he sees her creeping and looking all lovely and he goes, oop! Pretends to be asleep. And she just stands next to the bed without awakening him for a while and he's laying there “turning in his mind what this matter might mean.” The music, the red dress… what’s going on here?
THEO: Nice! Nice reference, LISA!
RACHEL: So he says, “Instead of pretending to be asleep I should just ask her what she's doing.” So he pretends to wake up.
JACKIE: Now that's heroic.
RACHEL: He's like yawning, he’s stretching…
JACKIE: He’s like, “Heyyyy, what are you doing in here?”
THEO: “Nothing like a good night’s sleep!”
RACHEL: Yeah, “Didn’t see you there!”
THEO: “Ohhh, hey!” That's what I say every time I wake up. “Nothing like a good night's sleep.”
JACKIE: And your roommates are like, “Ugh! Shut uppp.”
THEO: I don’t think I would do that. I think I would just still - as if I were asleep, I would have said, “BE GONE!”
RACHEL: You’d punch her in the face.
JACKIE: Like Tristan.
RACHEL: Oh wait, no no, she would punch you in the face.
JACKIE and THEO simultaneously: Yeah.
RACHEL: Okay. So then she says to him, like, “Hey, if you don't do what I want, I’m going to tie you up, and I’m serious about that.” And he's like, “Ha ha ha. Okay, I’ll do whatever you want, no problem.” And he says “Well, but would you mind if I put my clothes on first?” And she says, “Nope”
JACKIE: “IDO mind,” is what you mean.
RACHEL: “Stay in bed, I’m going to tuck you in.”
RACHEL: And she's like, “No, no, it will be better if you just stay in bed. So let me tuck you in so we can flirt.”
JACKIE: She said, “I’m gonna tuck you in and then playfully parley with the man I have pinned.” RACHEL: Yeahh.
JACKIE: What the f…reaky stuff is she trying to do?
RACHEL: She says, “Right here you lie, and we are left all alone with my husband and his huntsmen away in the hills and the servants snoring and my maids asleep, and the door to this bedroom barred with a bolt. I have in my house an honored guest, so I’ll make the most of my time and stay talking awhile.”
JACKIE: I feel like the lady doth protest too much here, because when someone sneaks into your room and is like, let me just give you a list of everyone who's away and all the different things that are set in place to make it so that we can't be discovered… don’t you think you’d be a little suspicious?
RACHEL: “So, let's talk!”
JACKIE: Yeah! “Why don't we just chat, like… like normal people?”
THEO: It sounds like a porn premise, right?
RACHEL and JACKIE simultaneously: Yeah.
JACKIE: Because it is.
RACHEL: It is, yeah.
JACKIE: “I brought some sausage pizza!!”
THEO: Come on, Rachel! Oh, Rachel’s a vegetarian.
RACHEL: Yeah, disgusting!
JACKIE: That wouldn't work on you.
RACHEL: Be like, “No thanks, didn't order it!” And slam the door.
THEO: “Be gone!”
JACKIE: I don’t know, isn't that what happens in every porn? Doesn't it always start with the pizza man?
RACHEL: Isn't that a stereotype? Or maybe - I don’t know.
THEO: Here, let's look some up right now.
JACKIE: Don't share your screen.
THEO: The audience just doesn't hear from me for, like, the next thirty minutes.
JACKIE: He's undoing the microphone again.
THEO, with fumbling mic sounds: Sorry, just some - some research.
JACKIE: So yeah, he says, “Well, how flattering! I’m not really all that noble though, so I really don't deserve all this respect you're showing me.” So much respect.
RACHEL: They literally spend hours flirting, according to the narrative, and the problem is that he's caught in a trap right now, which is he's got – his honor and his chivalry are fighting with each other, because obviously you shouldn't have sex with your host's wife, but also you can't be rude to a woman.
JACKIE: Also, I kind of thought he's just not supposed to have sex at all, right? Like he needs to -
RACHEL: That doesn't seem to be the problem.
JACKIE: I think that's a little bit of the issue just overall, but it's definitely more of a problem that it’s the host’s wife.
THEO: They wanted that unrequited love, that's what they were all about back then!
RACHEL: The reason he can't just tell her like, “Cut this out” - “You know, I can’t have sex with you – “
THEO: Because they were both paid to do a scene, and…
RACHEL: Yeah. No they're not you're – just, you can't insult a woman, so the whole thing is just him very, very delicately like turning her advances aside. It's just her approaching, approaching and him gently pushing her back without – trying not to hurt her feelings.
JACKIE: And she's basically saying like, “Am I not… pretty enough for you?”
RACHEL: And he's like, “No, you're TOO pretty.”
JACKIE: It's like what girls always say to each other when the guy’s clearly not into someone…
“It's just that you're TOO intimidating and he likes you TOO much. That's why he's not acting interested in you.” Yeah, yeah, yeah.
THEO: Girls are confusing.
RACHEL: So they flirt for hours, literally hours of flirting, but it says he's cool in his conduct the whole time and they're, like, basically dueling.
JACKIE: Is he still like trapped in the covers?
JACKIE: Like she’s tucked him in real tight? “Oh, no! Now I’m tucked in!”
RACHEL: Yes, just flirting, lying down on his back.
JACKIE: Just a talking little head in bed.
THEO: Whoa, Wizard of Oz!
RACHEL: Yeah, Jackie! Another Wizard of Oz reference.
RACHEL: So finally, she's like, “Oh all right, you've done a pretty good job today, and so I’m going to leave.” And he's like, “Okay, that sounds good.” She says, “Well, here's the thing. If you were Gawain really… you certainly can't be him, because everyone knows his manners are so amazing. So there's no way he could spend this long talking to a lady…” w
JACKIE: - “Without wanting to kiss her.” Because that's what amazing manners are?!
RACHEL: And she says, “That's what politeness requires.”
JACKIE: And he says, “Well then, let's do as you wish.”
RACHEL: And he says, “For anything further, press me no more.” She cradles him in her arms and kisses him. It says after they kiss…
RACHEL and JACKIE simultaneously: They courteously commend one another to Christ!
THEO: I’m swooning! This is so romantic.
JACKIE: I just imagine that, like, they kiss and then they're each kind of separately like, “Hey Jesus. See that girl over there? I recommend her.”
RACHEL: What if they had to do that in every porn? At the end of the scene they’re like, “I commend you to Christ.”
JACKIE: I don’t want to follow that thought any further.
RACHEL: I mean, that's the end! I said at the end. Nothing further happens.
RACHEL: So then he's like, “All right, I’m feeling great!” He pops out of bed, gets his clothes on and then he hangs out with everyone. He hangs out with the lady and the crone. That's the part where he's tucked between them feeling great.
JACKIE: He really feels like this went wonderfully? Like, he doesn't feel weird about that? He’s like, “Wow!” –
RACHEL: “I did a great deed today.”
JACKIE: “I managed not to offend her.”
RACHEL: “I fulfilled my knightly duties.”
JACKIE: All right!
RACHEL: So then the lord gets back and he's got a bunch of deer that they sliced up. So he has a ton of deer meat and he brings it in and he's like, “Hellooo.” So, okay, there's like two pages of them cutting the deer apart, essentially, and it's gross.
JACKIE: And then the deer and the hunter commend each other to Christ.
RACHEL: Yeah. Actually, what I’m looking for is - so, while they're butchering the deer, here's the part with my name from last time. They say, “The spine was subject to a similar process, being pared to the haunch so it held as one piece, then hoisting it high and hacking it off, and its name is the numbles, as far as I know.”
JACKIE: And just that.
THEO: Wait, what was the original noun? What is “its”?
JACKIE: Uh, the haunch of the deer?
THEO: The deer itself?
RACHEL and JACKIE simultaneously: The spine…?
JACKIE: Being pared…
RACHEL: I don’t know what's name is the numbles.
RACHEL: The deer’s name?
THEO: If you're going to say something like, “Its name is the numbles,” you have to be very clear what you're talking about.
JACKIE: I know!
THEO: Right? To just sort of haphazardly throw it in there…
JACKIE: Then he says, “As far as I know,” as though he's not sure.
RACHEL: Like, “Yeah, I think it's called the numbles?”
RACHEL: “Sounds about right to me.”
JACKIE: And then back in some little house in the woods, Mama Deer comes home and says, “Guys, where - where's the numbles?”
RACHEL: “Where’s the numbles?” No, no, that’s too sad. But so I did look up the numbles and the numbles is “the entrails of an animal” that you would eat, which - there is no noun that the numbles would – like that's not mentioned, there's no “it” that should be the numbles. They don't mention the entrails!
JACKIE: Yeah. I think I think Armitage made a little bit of a mistake here.
THEO: Is that Armitage saying that?
THEO: “I think you would call this the numbles, maybe?? I’m not quite sure how to translate this one. I’m thinking it’s the numbles.”
JACKIE: Oh yeah, what if the narrator IS Armitage where he’s just like, “I haven’t actually met Arthur myself, but I’ll tell you what I think he was like…”
RACHEL: “I think his nickname was the numbles?”
JACKIE: Theo is losing it.
THEO: I just think that’s crazy!
JACKIE: Like why did you put it in here, if you're not sure?!
THEO: Yeah! It's just like, all it does is totally discredit you as a narrator! Like as soon as someone said something like, “Eh, I think you should probably call it the numbles, but I don’t know.”
JACKIE: Well, if you think it's called the numbles, how can you leave that out? That's so funny.
RACHEL: Any chance you get to put numbles in there, you've got to.
RACHEL: Well, okay, here's the original Middle English, just starting from “And its name is the numbles as far as I know, and just that.” “And that thay neme for the noumbles bInome, as Itrowe, bIkynde”.
RACHEL: And that thay neme for the noumbles bInome! The nombles? The nowmbles? So I don’t think he made a mistake. That was the narrator's error. Theo, you're loving this numbles chat!
JACKIE:What if like -
THEO: It’s just crazy!
JACKIE: Okay, can we tweet this at Simon Armitage? So what if like -
RACHEL: He’s not on Twitter.
JACKIE: Whatever. What if he spent days or hours like, just laboring over this one line -
RACHEL: “What is this word??”
JACKIE: “I just - I don’t understand! You know what, I’m just going to put it in here, and I’m going to hope nobody really makes that big of a deal out of it.”
THEO: And then it’s like, the main content of this episode of our podcast.
JACKIE: Oh, we gotta call this the numbles. We got to call this episode ‘the numbles’.
RACHEL: The numbles, as far as I know.
THEO: It’s just a really freaking cute word.
RACHEL: Oh, you know what, I think I’ve told you guys this before, but I haven’t told everybody yet. So the last time we were in Hawaii visiting my family, my uncle Terry, who grew up on the island - so he you know, he has like a pretty strong Hawaiian accent, like he speaks Pidgin and all this other stuff. He was visiting, and the house we were staying on was kind of up a hill and there were these little tiny, wild boars that live in the woods, and every morning the mother pig would take like, five tiny little babies and they would all go to the beach.
RACHEL: So if you were outside at the right time, you would see this family of little pigs going to the beach. My uncle was there drinking coffee with us. I was talking to him and he's like, “Oh, did you see those wild boar?” And I said yeah, and I said, “They're wild boar, they're not like some other pig or something?” And he's like, “No, I think they're wild boar,” and he said, “You can tell by da snort.”
RACHEL: Then he said, “I mean… da snozzle.”
JACKIE: The snozzle!
THEO: To clarify?
JACKIE: He meant to say snout, right?
RACHEL: He meant ‘snout’, but he started with “snort” which, when he first said snort, I thought he meant the sound the pig made.
RACHEL: And then, when he said, “You can tell by the snort. I mean…” And I thought he was going to say ‘snout’, but instead he just went way far into left field. I thought that was so funny. My mom was out there, but she was like busy, she was looking at her phone and drinking something, she didn't even notice. I was laughing so hard. I had to say, “Excuse me, Uncle Terry.” I went inside, like, closed myself in a room. I laughed for ten minutes. I was crying. I had full on tears coming out of my eyes.
THEO: Was he offended?
RACHEL: It was like, what is wrong? No, he wasn’t - I don’t even think he would have been offended…
JACKIE: He’s just using the correct medical term.
RACHEL: But I was just like, “I’m gonna laugh at this, like, I’m going to laugh at this to an unbelievable degree. Nobody needs to be around for this. So I just closed myself off and laughed and laughed and laughed and Stephen was like, what’s wrong? And I explained it to him and he's like, “That's pretty funny.” But that is, still to this day, that is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. And it's especially just the way that he said it. I can’t even like… just going from snort to snozzle, it's… the humor is that he went further away!
THEO: Yeah, he’s further away and it's like an even funnier word.
THEO: He’s got the S, the N, and the two Zs…
RACHEL: And so I told my mom about that and she was like, “I did not even notice.” But yes, snozzle is a really funny word and also it's farther away from snout. Because he started just one letter off!
JACKIE: Which makes me wonder, I mean, does anyone actually call it that? Or did he just think, “Oh you know, Rachel's from North Carolina. They probably call it the snozzle or something weird like that.”
RACHEL: Yeah, its name is the snozzle, as far as I know.
JACKIKE: Now do we call the episode The Numbles or we do we call it ‘From Snort to Snozzle’?
RACHEL: Da snort. I mean, da snozzle. Anyway, what I was saying was as far as comparisons go, the parallel that was drawn here is that the way that a deer is hunted, compared to the future ones, it was relatively bloodless and very mannered. Like there were a lot of strict rules about the way that you hunt a deer, like who has which role. And his flirtation with the wife is very much like here's the rule. If someone says this to you, you respond like this, and so it's just kind of a direct back and forth, that kind of thing, and it only ended in one kiss.
JACKIE: It's almost like AI. Like you can program that conversation ahead of time.
RACHEL: My gosh, yeah, Gawain Bot, and it's just deflecting your flirts.
JACKIE: Because we know the rules already, so it's predestined from the very beginning.
THEO: I love it.
RACHEL: Yeah! So then the guy comes back and he says, “Well, what do you think? Look at this pile of deer meat I brought you, isn't that great?” And Gawain says, “Yes, that's a ton of deer meat.” And the lord’s like, “All right, so, according to our contract, this is yours. So what do you have for me?” And Gawain, it says “he held out his arms and hugged the lord, and kissed him in the comeliest way he could.”
JACKIE: And he again, didn't think that was weird?
RACHEL: No, and he said, “This is my one profit, but I would gladly have given you any greater prize.”
JACKIE: Why didn't he just tuck him in bed and just talk to him for hours?
RACHEL: Yeah, just be like, “This is what I did all day.”
JACKIE: Hop in!
RACHEL: The lord is like, “All right, but nice prize, but I’d like it even more if you told me who gave it to you and where and when.” And Gawain’s like, “Sorry dude, that wasn't part of the deal!”
JACKIE: Uh oh!
THEO: Oooh, he’s tricky!
RACHEL: He's a tricky little fellow.
THEO: I would not command him to Christ.
RACHEL: He’s too tricky?
THEO: Yeah he's too tricky, and vile I guess.
JACKIE: And then they both l-ahahaha!
RACHEL: They laugh and have dinner together.
THEO: Did you forget the word for ‘laugh’?
RACHEL: “They wahahaha!”
THEO: Oh you know, like lahahahha?
JACKIE: I mean lozzle.
RACHEL: Okay. That night they talk and they're like, “Let's do this deal again, that'll be great!”
JACKIE: Sorry, I’m just imagining like turning this into a porn again, and like the guy comes home and he's like, “Here's all this deer meat!” And the guys like, “Here's… this broken washing machine?”
THEO: He’s, what did you say, fixing the washing machine?
JACKIE: I said like, broken washing machine or like, here's a pizza or something.
RACHEL: Here’s a sausage pizza?
JACKIE: I don’t know. What are the stereotypes?
THEO: The stereotypes are like, here are a bunch of deer cockuses. (pause) Here are a bunch of deer CARcasses. Whoa, there I go!
RACHEL: Getting a little political.
THEO: Oh, I was thinking it was like a porn pun. ‘Cock’usses.
RACHEL: I know. I was giving you an out.
THEO: Oh, damn it. I wish I would just take the out.
JACKIE: Oh. I was thinking like Caucasus mountains.
RACHEL: Getting a little Eurasian! So anyway, so they leave, and this time the lord and his bros are hunting a boar, and this time it’s much more, like rough I guess?
THEO: Uh oh!
RACHEL: The boar puts up a fight is what I’m saying. So it's a lot bloodier.
JACKIE: Is the boar Gawain, or is the boar the wife?
RACHEL: I don’t know.
JACKIE: Like they’re parallels right?
RACHEL: The idea is that they're probably supposed to be viewed as a parallels. So it seems like Gawain’s probably the boar, if anything, because she's the one going after him.
JACKIE: I’d say he's a bore, all right! God.
JACKIE: DO something already.
RACHEL: Talking for hours? Why not kiss her? Sheesh! Okay, so they hunt this huge wild boar again he stays in bed as long as possible, and the lady of the house decides to wake him up again. So she opens the curtains and peeps in and he says like, “Oh, hey, welcome!”
JACKIE: Sorry, I think after the first night like when the guy’s like, “No, no, no, just sleep in, like, rest,” I’d be like, “Well, your damn wife won't stop waking me up! I’m trying to sleep! Tell her to stop creeping in.”
RACHEL: Yeah. Maybe that's what he should have done when the guy was like, “Give me what you got in return.” He should just wake him up really early the next morning and be like, “Yeah!”
THEO: “How does it feel?”
RACHEL: “I lost out on a good night's sleep!” So anyway.
JACKIE: She says, “Well, good morning. I can’t believe that you've totally forgotten the lesson that I taught you already: the truest lesson that my tongue could teach.” And the knight says, “What lesson? I don’t remember any, but you know, if I’m being discourteous, then please correct me.”
THEO: We've all used that one before. We've all used that line.
RACHEL: She says, “I told you to claim a kiss.” And he's like, “Oh sorry, like I totally would have tried to kiss you, but I didn’t do it because what if you turned me down and then I would be at fault for offering a kiss to you?” And she says, “No one could possibly turn you down because you're so strong. If they tried you could just force them to kiss you.”
JACKIE: This is what I definitely thought the weirdest thing was. Where she was just like, “Oh, no…”
RACHEL: And he says, “Yeah, that's true!” He agrees with her!
JACKIE: Yeah. She's like, “Well, you have muscles. So how could anyone possibly turn you down?”
RACHEL: That's not great flirting, lady. Telling him he could be a rapist? Okay!
JACKIE: But that does seem more realistic to say like, “Oh, well, here, I didn't actually kiss you because I thought that you might not be into it and then I would be the one that looks weird so we're just like locked in eternal deadlock.”
RACHEL: But so he tells her in his homeland, heavy handedness like that is frowned upon, and so is any gift not given with grace. So that's good! So he says, “Look, if you command me to kiss you I'll do it in a polite way.:
JACKIE: If you make me wear a Kermit suit, I guess I will.
RACHEL: So she kisses him once and they spend a lot more time talking and talking, and the woman is talking to him. She's like, “Oh man, I hear all these tales about knights in love bringing ladies bliss in the bedroom, and you know, you're really famous, so why haven't I heard about your romantic exploits?”
JACKIE: Yeah, “I’ve sat next to you twice for hours in a row and you don't say anything about any of that stuff.”
RACHEL: She's like, “I’m here to learn about love, so perform for me before my husband heads for home.” And he says, “That's great, but I’m not worthy of your favors, like, I’m very flattered but come on, like, surely you know a lot more about love than I do!” Like what? This is such a weird scenario. This would never happen now. Nobody would be like sorry bro, I had to be polite and bang your wife, you know? So anyway, so they go back and forth a little bit more and then she kisses him one more time and then leaves.
RACHEL: Politely kisses him a second time.
JACKIE: And then again he gets up and he's like, “All right, ready for church!”
RACHEL: Yep! There's another a couple of pages of them killing and butchering the boar and then dragging it back to see Gawain. So the lord's like, “Look at this huge boar, listen to the story of how hard it was to kill.” And Gawain’s like, “Wow, that's awesome, thanks for this pork,” which, okay, first of all, this is so much meat for one guy.
JACKIE: This is a sausage pizza, I told you.
RACHEL: What is he going to do with all this meat? I have no idea, like he's about to get killed! Whatever. What a waste. Okay, maybe he gives it back.
JACKIE: Isn’t he gonna just like, feast on it with everybody in the castle?
RACHEL: So he's going to share it.
THEO: But that's not the rules of the game.
JACKIE: So the host says, “All right Gawain, we’re playing the game, so you remember how it goes.” Sir Gawain goes, “Okay!”, catches him by the neck and courteously kisses him, and then a second time kisses him in a similar style. And Gawain says, “Now we're even!”
RACHEL: So, two courteous kisses.
THEO: Do you think at any point they thought, “…What are we doing? This is insanity!”
JACKIE: And the guy keeps giving him more and more, and like more impressive animals and more meat, and it was like harder and harder take get, and every time he goes home and Gawain, is just like, “Okay!” (two brief kissing sounds)
THEO: “Little tongue this time.”
JACKIE: “Now we're even!”
RACHEL: So then they have yet another party, and this time Gawain is sitting next to the wife, and she is so flirty with him -
THEO: Oh crap.
RACHEL: - that it says, “His breeding forbade him rebuking a lady, and though tongues might wag, he returned her attention all night.” So she was making him uncomfortable with how obvious her flirting was, but to be polite, he had to flirt back with her in front of her husband and everyone else.
JACKIE: What IS this? I hope the medieval scholar can tell us.
RACHEL: It's alien, it's an alien society. So, so anyway, the lord says to him, “Hey, don't worry, I'll take you to the green chapel to get killed soon, but listen. I’ve tested you twice and found you truthful, so tomorrow, third time throw best.” Like it's in quotes. So he says, “Let's play this game one more time.”
JACKIE: So when he says, “I’ve tested you twice and twice you've been true,” Gawain doesn't know what that means.
RACHEL: I mean he knows that he's been true, but I do wonder why he didn't say like, “How does that guy know that I was true?”
JACKIE: Yeah or like, “What do you mean you've been testing me? I thought this was just a fun game. All above board.”
RACHEL: Yeah, Gawain is not smart, because if somebody said that to me I would immediately know that there is something going on beyond just some like weird, bisexual power trip. You know?
JACKIE: Beyond that! And that alone is enough to make me think, ‘Maybe this isn't…’
RACHEL: Yeah, let's not play this game anymore. So obviously they agreed to do the game again and this time the lord wakes up early and they go out and this time they hunt a fox.
JACKIE: So this one is cunning.
RACHEL: The idea is yeah that it's about cunning and trickery and that sort of thing. Also foxes are associated with sexuality, and this time –
THEO: Everything is associated with sexuality! I’m tired of this.
JACKIE: I know. Girl Scout cookies…
RACHEL: No, you said you like sexuality, you hate sensuality. Although I guess you removed that from the episode!
JACKIE: So we can't keep it in now.
THEO: Yeah, I’m just kind of annoyed that I can't talk about a fox anymore without having everyone be like, “Oh, you know what that means, right? Hmph! Sexy stuff!”
RACHEL: ‘Anymore’? When did people start associating it with sexuality?
THEO: I don’t know. 2010s? I don’t know.
JACKIE: I don't think I ever really did. I always just think foxes are really cute and I often have dreams that I encounter like a little… a little….
THEO: Uh oh.
JACKIE: Don't uh oh, you're the one who wants to make foxes unsexual again! We could make a hat.
RACHEL: ‘Make foxes unsexual again?’
THEO: Well, I’m just saying like, as soon as you start talking about how it's in your DREAM…
JACKIE: No, I always have dreams that I’ve found like, a bunch of baby foxes and it's so fun.
THEO: And then…?
RACHEL: So the hounds are chasing after, whatever. The next morning, obviously Gawain is snoozing contentedly in bed. I don't know how this guy - like at this point, “I would be waking up nervous every morning.”
JACKIE: Yeah or I would just like, scoot down to the edge of the bed and like hide.
RACHEL: I would bar the door. If she can bar the door, he can bar the door.
THEO: Oh, yeah.
JACKIE: But that would be rude.
RACHEL: Yeah. That would be rude. So this time she goes to his room, she's wearing a flowing robe, trimmed with fur. She has no hood on her head, but it says there are clusters of twenty heavenly gems entwined in her tresses. So she had nothing on her face. Her neck was naked –
THEO: Oh gosh.
RACHEL: - and her shoulders were bare to both back and breast.
JACKIE: You know she's going for that au naturel look, like, “Mm, just woke up and happened to weave like twenty gems into my hair!”
RACHEL: No makeup, but twenty clusters of gems.
JACKIE: Hashtag no filter!
THEO: Yeah, just woke up like this. That's awesome.
RACHEL: Yep. So she's looking sexy, I guess, because her shoulders are bare to her breasts. I don’t know, like -
JACKIE: I guess she's just wearing like an off the shoulder dress or something?
RACHEL: And it's like all the way down to her nipples? Like where do her breasts start, back in the day?
JACKIE: Let's not get all philosophical about it, Rachel.
RACHEL: Don't be philosophical about where a boob begins.
JACKIE: Yeah I mean, where does a breast begin and the shoulder ends? I don't know.
RACHEL: Yeah we should - we do need to get a philosopher on this show, to talk about…
JACKIE: And an anatomist, clearly.
RACHEL: Yeah, exactly. So he wakes up and she's laughing warmly.
RACHEL: And walks towards him and immediately gives him the friendliest kiss.
JACKIE: So friendly! Good morning!
RACHEL: And it says a passionate heat takes hold of his heart, because she's just looking so good. So they smile at each other and they flirt some more and she still is pushing and pushing him. It says, “She pushed and pressed him, nudged him ever nearer to a limit where he needed to allow her love or impolitely reject it.”
JACKIE: But they keep mentioning Mary. Like Mother Mary keeps him safe.
RACHEL: From this hot, hot woman.
JACKIE: Yeah! What, if, like, so every time that the woman comes into the room, he just thinks, “Think about the crone! Think about the crone!” Think about her bulbous buttocks and her square abdomen.
RACHEL: Think about that huge ass and you'll immediately not be turned on anymore.
JACKIE: Yeah, so he says, “I’m not going to give in.” And she says, “There's no way to wound anyone on earth more than by feeling no love for the female that you lie with - unless, of course, there's some other lady in your life?” And he goes, “No no no, of course not. There’s no other one.”
RACHEL: So she's giving him an out yeah, but he's… he has to be honest.
THEO: Aw man.
RACHEL: So she says, “Well, that's, that's the worst answer you could have given me, so I feel terrible now! So just give me a kiss and I’ll walk away in mourning, like a lady who loved too much.” So she's known this guy for three days! So she kisses him again and then says, “Before we leave, can you give me a gift, so that I won't feel so bad?” And he says, “Look, I can't because I don't have anything worth giving you. I only a have like a worthless token.”
JACKIE: So she says, “How about a glove?” And he says, “I can't just give you a glove, that's so useless! I’d greatly regret it.”
RACHEL: It would be better to have nothing.
JACKIE: So she goes, “Well how about I give YOU a really great gift?”
RACHEL: So she offers him a gold ring and he says, “No. I can't take that because since I can't offer you anything, I can't take something in return. It wouldn't be fair.”
JACKIE: She clearly had this whole idea set up where she's like, “Why don't you give me something,” and then they were going to exchange gifts like maybe he was gonna give her a ring, she'll give him a ring… but instead he's just like, “I don't have anything.” And she's like, “Fine, have this ring anyway I guess.”
RACHEL: He’s like, “I can’t have that because I don’t have anything.”
RACHEL: So she says, “Look, if you think the ring is too valuable, let me give you my girdle,” which is a form of undergarment. And she unbuckles it, and it’s green silk with gold trimming.
THEO and JACKIE simultaneously: Uh oh!
RACHEL: Which she gives to him. It says it was embroidered by hand, basically. So she gives it to him and he's like, “Look, I can’t take the girdle, I can’t take the ring,” whatever. So finally, she says, “I can’t believe this! You're turning your nose up at my silk, which is so simple? That's terrible! But if only you knew this, which is that there is power knitted in it. So as long as you have it buckled around you, you will be safe against anyone who seeks to strike you, and all the slyness on earth won't see you slain.”
JACKIE: He's like, “Huh! Sounds like a pretty good deal! Gimme that underwear, lady!”
RACHEL: He's like, “Okay, I think that would work for me! I’ll take that! I'll take this thing that makes me immortal.”
JACKIE: “Cause I’m just now remembering, I got to get my head chopped off later today, so you know what, that could be useful!”
RACHEL Yeah, “I might can use that!” So he's very happy and he's thanking her, and then he kisses her for a third time. She leaves because it says, “No more merriment could be had from that man.”
JACKIE: Such a killjoy.
RACHEL: That's when we know we need to end the podcast. When there's no more merriment left in Theo.
JACKIE: I don’t know if that's a good comparison to draw.
THEO: Do you think I lack merriment in general?
RACHEL: Yeah Jackie, are you saying he never has any merriment?
JACKIE: I don’t think you can put this on me.
RACHEL: All right, so he gets up, he's going to church, confessing his sins to the priest.
JACKIW: And the priest is like, “You're so pure, there's, nothing you need to confess. Don't worry about it.”
RACHEL: He – what?!
THEO: What’s wrong?
RACHEL: He just committed mild adultery for three days in a row! He a hundred percent coveted that man's wife!
JACKIE: Yeah, but maybe the priest is like, “Look, understandable?”
RACHEL: “Yeah, she's, hot.” Is that what you think?
THEO: Fist bump!
RACHEL: That doesn't even count as a sin.
RACHEL: Like, “We've all been kissing that lady.” But I’m just thinking like, what? He's so pure and yet he's just traded six smooches with a married woman and accepted her magic underwear?
JACKIE: Well, because it will be rude not to and also it'll save him! Look, he's got - he's a feeble wit. That's why he went on this journey. He's not smart.
RACHEL: If God says hey, you committed a sin, you can just be like, “Oh sorry, it would have been rude not to.”
RACHEL: And then He's like, “Oh, okay, bro. Yeah.”
JACKIE: That's the knight's code!
THEO: “Yeah, uh, actually it would have been rude… Can you double check that?” “Oh, oh, right right right.”
RACHEL: And it's like, “Oh, this little asterisk? Yes. You're right.”
THEO: Asterisk at the bottom of the ten commandments.
RACHEL: Any of this is okay if it would have been rude otherwise.
THEO: Most importantly, thou shalt not be rude.
RACHEL: Yeah, that’s the number one commandment.
JACKIE: The eleventh commandment.
RACHEL: The ultimate commandment.
JACKIE: Yeah. Zero point zero.
RACHEL: Anyway, so he's like, “Oh sweet,” and he's even happier than before, he's hanging out with the ladies. And so at night... So, okay, we cut back to the lord slaughtering this poor little fox and skinning it. The lord shows up, he's got this beautiful fox fur, and he says, “Oh, here you go, take this!” He's so happy. So, it's pretty funny. This time Gawain gives him the prize first, which is he greets the man and it says, “kisses him three times with as much emotion as a man could muster.”
JACKIE: So not much emotion.
THEO: But does he also have to give the girdle?
RACHEL: Well, we'll see! So then the the lord responds and says, “Ah man, this sucks, like sorry, I don’t have a good trade for you this time. All I have is this fox fur, and you gave me three kisses perfect and true!” And so anyway, they're partying and yeah, Gawain doesn't give him the girdle.
THEO: Oh my god.
RACHEL: So they're all partying and having a great time, and Gawain says, “Hey, you know, I’ve had a wonderful time here, but I have to go get my head chopped off. So can you appoint someone to take me to the green chapel to be there on New Year’s Da?” And the lord's like, “Of course, here, I’ve got a servant for you.” So Gawain thanks the host and waves good bye to the ladies. So everyone else in the hall, he kisses them, thanks them for their kindness. They're very sad because he’s -
JACKIE: God, you can tell this is a pre-covid tale, there's a lot of just kissing strangers and …
RACHEL: Yeah, smooching all over the place>
JACKIE: Sharing underwear, and blegh!
RACHEL: It’s true!
THEO: God, I was so upset when I had to give that up because of covid.
RACHEL: Just trading kisses with your host and his wife?
JACKIE: And everyone in the entire hall.
RACHEL: So he goes to bed. He's taken up to his room, and the narrator says, “If our knight sleep soundly, I couldn't say.”
JACKIE: Yeah he's like, “I’m not sure…”
RACHEL: Yeah, he doesn't know everything.
JACKIE: Well, he says, “That matter in the morning must be muddying his thoughts. So let him lie and think in sight of what he sought in time. In time I’ll tell if tricks work out the way they ought.”
RACHEL: And that's the end of Fitt three.
JACKIE. Tricks and treats!
RACHEL: Yep. What do you think, Thee-Thee?
THEO: I think it's pretty… um, well… let me try to think of an opinion.
RACHEL: Oh no!
JACKIE: He's had zero opinions. Theo just lives in the moment, I like that.
THEO: I mean honestly, it seems… I feel like I’ve read this story a thousand times. You know it's pretty -
JACKIE: In the porns?
JACKIE: “I feel like I’ve seen this scene a thousand times!”
THEO: Yeah, right. Though I will admit, I do search “gawain porn mp4” into Google every day.
JACKIE: Yeah, so I mean: do you think this scene would have… I don’t know if people think this recently or just back in the day when it was more popularly read - do you think people would have been like, “Ooh, so spicy!”
THEO: Oh yeah, I bet you.
RACHEL: He bets you. Hey, let's play a game. Theo’s going to bet you that people thought it was spicy -
JACKIE: And in a year and a day -
RACHEL: And you’re gonna bet that they didn't. Yeah. And if he's right, he cuts your head off. THEO: Woah!
RACHEL: If you're right, you have to give him a magical axe.
THEO: I don’t think your game is an exact analog.
JACKIE: Well, my end of the bargain seems a lot harder to hold up. Where am I going to find a magical axe? He can easily cut my head off.
RACHEL: Yeah. You need to start pumping up those neck muscles.
THEO: Sorry about your head.
JACKIE: Sorry about it!
JACKIE: How do I make my neck shorter and thicker?
THEO: You just put a lot of books on your head.
JACKIE: Like every time you see me – I show up at the fourth of July next year and I’m just like, (strained voice) “Hey guys!”
THEO: And we’re like looking up at the books on your head… “Yeah, still doing that thing, huh Jackie?
JACKIE: Yeah, totally normal.
THEO: Yeah, yeah, I would say, put the books on your head.
RACHEL: Yeah. Did you lose track of where you were going?
THEO: No, I don’t know.
JACKIE: “I forgot I was supposed to have an opinion!”
THEO: So my opinion about this is it all seems… I don’t have an opinion.
THEO: I don’t know!
RACHEL: What do you think's going to happen? Do you think Gawain’s going to get punished for hiding the girdle? Do you think he’s gonna die? Do you think he'll survive?
THEO: I think he'll end up dying at the hand of the green knight, and clearly the Green Knight is someone in this little place that he's met. This little place, this little hall.
JACKIE: This little place? Do you think it's one of the wodwos?
THEO: I mean who are the characters?
JACKIE: Do you think it's the deer, or the fox?
THEO: Wait. Could it be the crone? Because she was set up and then she hasn't really come back? Could she be the Green Knight himself?
RACHEL: Teaching a lesson about sexism or something.
RACHEL: So, basically the only characters we know - we know Arthur, Guinevere -
THEO: Okay, but they're irrelevant.
RACHEL: - the lord of the castle, the lady of the castle, the crone, and the priest.
JACKIE: And Gringolet!
RACHEL: You’re saying one of them was the green knight.
JACKIE: Yeah, where was Gringolet in the whole feast at the beginning? Did you see them in the same room together? No!
RACHEL: He was probably in the stable!
RACHEL: So what's your guess? Who do you think it is?
THEO: I think it's the old crone.
THEO: I mean you can't just throw in an old crone and not do anything with her.
RACHEL: Chekhov’s old crone.
THEO: Yeah. It’s a classic.
JACKIE: Every time a crone pops up, you've got to use it.
RACHEL: If there's a crone on the mantel at the start of the story…
JACKIE: It's like Elf on the Shelf, like you know they're coming back.
RACHEL: Crone on the phone.
JACKIE: Crone on the phone.
THEO: No! There’s a better one than that! Crone in the ZONE!
JACKIE: You think that's better?
RACHEL: As an alternative to Elf on the Shelf, Crone in the Zone?
RACHEL: Where is the zone?
JACKIE: You mean the apostrophe zone, the calzone. The calzone! The crone zone.
THEO: Oh my gosh, Crone in the Zone, and we ate her and that's what the numbles was I think?!
RACHEL: Oh, Theo!
JACKIE, in a high-pitched screech: The numbles! I never finished my my limerick about numbles.
THEO: You were writing one? We didn’t know you were writing one.
RACHEL: We didn’t know you started.
JACKIE: Yeah, I was. How about you guys keep talking and I’ll continue.
THEO: Wow, sounds like great content we're about to produce. Well, what do you want to talk about, Rachel? Jackie? Do you want to talk about Jackie?
RACHEL: No, because that'll distract her and it’ll make her take even longer to finish.
THEO: Okay, I guess we'll talk about anything but Jackie then. So I don’t know, I mean I feel like this whole green knight thing… I feel like we've kind of lost that. I’m starting to wonder if that ever comes back!
RACHEL: If the green knight ever comes back?!
JACKIE: This whole thing was just a fake out.
JACKIE: Okay, sorry!
THEO: It's called “Gawain and His Many Unrelated Adventures.”
RACHEL: “Gawain and Everything But the Green Knight.” “How Gawain Avoided Dealing with His Problems.”
RACHEL: Yeah, right.
JACKIE: You want to hear my limerick? “To my knowledge, they called it the numbles / a word that no murmurs or mumbles / could sully or slight, / nor less in its might, / no matter how much Theo grumbles.
THEO: Ooh, Theo!
RACHEL: He likes the numbles! We're all down with the numbles!
JACKIE: First he liked it, and then he was offended.
THEO: Well, I liked the name drop, but then I realized, you know, actually that doesn't really represent my viewpoint on the subject of the numbles.
JACKIE: Who doesn't like the numbles?
THEO: I find that almost cute. I find it… whatever else you wanted me to find it.
RACHE: Cheeky. Bit of a cheeky numbles?
THEO: Could be.
RACHEL: It sounds like a British expression.
THEO: I feel like the cheeky numbles is like a band.
JACKIE: The Cheeky Numbles!
RACHEL: Are you gonna ask Jacob now?
JACKIE: Don’t even tell him that, just say, “You know my favorite seventies prog rock band, The Cheeky Numbles?”
THEO: For today's episode we’re pairing with the album ‘I Commend You to Christ’ by the Cheeky Numbles.
RACHEL: That’s funny. I mean, what do you think, Theo? Are you interested in this poem?
THEO: Quit asking me what I think!
RACHEL: I’m just waiting to see!
JACKIE: All right, how about this? “A word that no murmurs or mumbles / could sully or slight / nor less on its might, / nor ever cause Theo to grumble.”
THEO: Oh finally!
THEO: A word that doesn't cause me to grumble. Seriously, I have so much just frustration about every word other than the numbles.
JACKIE: I know. Next time he's like, upset about anything, like, “Oh, my god, I just really had a bad day,” I'll be like, “Hey!”
JACKIE: “Remember the numbles?”
THEO: “Remember the numbles.” I’m going to make a new meme template where it's just any image, and it just says, “I’m pretty sure that's what the numbles is.” Wouldn’t that be great?
JACKIE: Or, “They call this the numbles, as far as I know.”
RACHEL: If anybody ever asks a question about something… “What's the word for when people say wahahah?”
JACKIE: Yeah, how do I say ‘homework’ in Japanese? “The numbles. I think.”
RACHEL: “They call it the numbles, yeah.”
THEO: “I think it's the numbles.” You can't be too sure about it. That's another important part of it.
JACKIE: It's like, “Doc! Look, just give it to me straight. What do you see on my x-ray?” “I think it's the mumbles.”
RACHEL: I mean that's probably right, though, right?
JACKIE: I mean, I don’t think x-rays… If I’m going to be pedantic, I don’t think they're supposed to show soft tissue.
THEO: The tests aren't one hundred percent accurate, but I’m pretty sure these are the numbles.
JACKIE: These are the numbles.
THEO: Okay, no, I’ve got the meme. It's the butterfly one. “Is this the numbles?”
RACHEL: What's going to be on the butterfly? The numbles?
THEO: Because he got it right! It’s the first time in that meme where he gets it right.
RACHEL: Well, what we need also is that meme where it's like, “Be sure if it's the numbles, or draw 25.”
JACKIE: How about we wrap it up.
RACHEL: All right.
THEO: All right.
JACKIE: All right. So, thanks for joining us on this sexual tension-filled episode of the numbles. I can’t.
THEO: Yeah, I don’t ever want to say the word “porn” as much as we did on this episode again. You know what I mean?
JACKIE: It is, it's just very porn-y I mean, obviously I don’t really… All I know, again, is pizza and fixing a washing machine.
RACHEL: Okay, I mean I can tell you this next time, but I saw something weird when I was reading the history of this poem.
THEO: Oh gosh.
RACHEL: I know. So there's a theory that it was written in response to Richard the Second and all the rumors about his gay lover, who he like basically definitely had. And that this poem was written to show that men can kiss other men and it doesn't have to be gay.
JACKIE: It’s fine! It's not weird! No homo!
THEO: As long as it's part of a game, yeah.
RACHEL: Like seriously, that's a theory, is that this was written to be like, “Look! Some nonsexual male kisses.”
JACKIE: Kind of like how King Philip of Spain had a really bad lisp, and then everyone else in Spain was like, “No, we all lisp, that's fine, that's normal as well.” Right?
RACHEL: But that doesn't make sense, like this doesn't seem not gay to me.
THEO: I think it's funny that you would be saying, “Look how normal it is for these two men to kiss” when the situation is so abnormal.
JACKIE: Right! Yeah, like they didn't have to put in the part about the woman and all that. They could have just said, like, I give you a boar…”
THEO: “They kissed!”
RACHEL: They're saying like, “When he kissed this woman, there was danger of sex happening, but when he's kissing this guy, sex couldn't possibly happen!”
JACKIE: “How would that even work?”
RACHEL: It definitely could have happened! What if he had sex with the lady?
JACKIE: No it can’t, that wouldn’t fit, Rachel.
RACHEL: I’m just saying like, I don’t know if t's a bad theory or if the theory is right and the narrator’s just not very smart. Or the writer I mean. But that's what I read, is that this whole thing was written to prove that a man can kiss another man, and it's totally always straight.
THEO: I think I would have liked this better if there was none of the woman part and it was just like…
RACHEL: Dudes kissing dudes.
JACKIE: Theo’s like, “You know how we could improve this bisexual porn? Make it just men.”
THEO: Yeah! It was just like, “I’m going to bring you home a great animal carcass on the daily, and then you assess its worth and give me a number of kisses that you think is fitting based on the value of the animal carcass.”
RACHEL: That would have improved the story?
THEO: “This is a seven-kiss carcass!” “Thank you!” (Makes seven kissing sounds)
JACKIE: I have five sets of five kisses.
RACHEL: Theo’s always wondered how many kisses venison was worth.
THEO: I just want to know if I’m getting a good deal on it.
JACKIE: So like, when I’m in the grocery store and the man at the meat counter says, “Twenty five kisses,” you could be like, “No no no! This is a three-kiss carcass.”
RACHEL: “Yeah, Gawain only paid three kisses!”
THEO: “Uhh, there's been a bit of inflation since 1300!”
JACKIE: “Don't you know the market’s turned?”
RACHEL: “Kisses aren’t worth as much as they used to be.”
THEO: It's a shame, yeah.
JACKIE: Yeah. So there's that. But then I don’t know, I feel like if we're going with the whole angle of like, Gawain is just stupid, then that is totally not sexual when he kisses the man. Because he's like, “All right, well, this is just a mere transaction.”
RACHEL: But then like, he's kissing him with as much emotion as a man can muster?
JACKIE: As a man can muster, which is kind of hard to muster because he's not gay!
RACHEL: He's kissing him “in the comeliest way possible”?
JACKIE: “I’m not really feeling it, but I’m just going to try it to…”
RACHEL: I’m going to look as hot as I can while I kiss you?
THEO: Rachel, you are being so naïve. Or maybe Jackie is. One of you is being naïve.
RACHEL: I’m being so naive, thinking that a man could be into another man.
JACKIE: I’m just saying, this is the straightest story I’ve read all day. So you can make of that what you will.
RACHEL: Well everyone, thanks so much for joining us, and if you'd like to join us in other locations, we’re on Instagram and Twitter as @firethe canonpod. We have a discussion group and an announcement group on Facebook at Fire the Canon Podcast. Our Gmail account is firstname.lastname@example.org. And you know what we would really love, if you felt like it, if you had some… a little bit of disposable income, we would love for you to go to our Patreon, which is patreon.co/firethecanon, and you can pledge us a certain amount of money every month If you give us three dollars or more you get access to all of our bonus episodes, which are even sillier than the ones on the main feed, for the most part.
THEO: And the benefits keep coming. You know, like we might bring you the carcass of a boar, we might give you seven kisses, you might get some numbles!
JACKIE: Yeah we're going to give you something… I don’t remember what it is, but I think it might be numbles. If you are not able to give at this time or even if you are, we would love it if you would just leave us a review, because that's really awesome and it really makes us very happy. And we haven't gotten one in a while, so -
THEO: We haven't been happy in a while.
JACKIE: Yeah. Please leave one, especially if you're in the United States of America, but if not that's fine too.
RACHEL: We love all reviews.
JACKIE: If you're, not in the United States of America, could you please travel here, leave a review, and then leave? I will pay your plane ticket.
THEO: Or use a VPN. Always an option.
RACHEL: Yeah. So now it's time for our traditional farewell. All right?
ALL TOGETHER: I commend you to Christ!
RACHEL: And also with you.
JACKIE: You sexy thang.
THEO: To all the numblers out there.
RACHEL: Nell, we commend you to Christ.
THEO: I don’t want to.
RACHEL: You don’t want to commend your mom to Christ?
JACKIE: No, because you know what happens right before you commend someone to Christ!
THEO: Yeah, considering…
RACHEL: We non-sexually commend our entire audience to Christ.