As someone that’s fond of language and slang, I often find myself pondering the true history and nature of some of our most closely-held terms used in everyday life.
So starting today, The Kids will occasionally provide a historical account of how some of our most popular slang terms came to be.
Introducing The Kids Don’t Get It’s Catalog of Urban Nasty Terms, or C.U.N.–never mind, let’s not abbreviate that, shall we?
Anyway, today’s first entry into, um, er, the Catalog is “clusterf-ck”.
While only recently appearing in 21st century vernacular, the term clusterf-ck, commonly confused with the term “clusterfructis” from the Latin “clustis” which means “to hatef-ck” and the word “fructrose” which means “highly unhealthy sugary-sweet properties” as found in Coca-Cola and Perez Hilton, actually has roots in the 17th century.
So set down your Funk & Wagnall’s, we’re taking you to school!
The Catalog of Urban Nasty Terms Presents: Clusterf-ck
The term clusterf-ck (n.), typically refers to a situation that’s gone completely to shit. Its history lies in its namesake, Civil War cartographer Jebediah Cluster (born 1827).
Born to Brutus and Abigail Cluster in White Town, GA, Jebediah was a Confederate Army cartographer in the American Civil War. A slow, dim-witted man who was known all around White Town as a gentleman who enjoyed, “drawing nekked pictures of his relatives, eating mud pies and punching in church”, Jebediah was the first man in White Town to enlist in the war.
On a routine day out in the marketplace with his Negro sidekick Sam.i.am. (great-great-great grandfather to asshat, Will.i.am.) to find “qualitee Cluster relations with which to shew my services to render pencil skitches of their boobies and hanging bits”, Jebediah accidentally signed up to serve in the upcoming Civil War after seeing a sign that said “Random Name Drawing To Draft Men To Contest Yankee Devils“.
Thinking this was the South vs North drawing contest he’d always dreamt about at night, Jebediah had Sam.i.am. write his name down on the list.
It would not be the last stupid signing done by a member of the i.am. clan.
Jebediah received news of his selection in the middle of church that Sunday. Punching his way out, he quickly made his way home to celebrate the news with his family and make his Negro slaves celebrate too.
Weeks later Cluster showed up at Ft. Douglass with rolls and rolls of naked Cluster family drawings to enter into the contest. When he was informed that he was to be a cartographer in the South’s battle against the North, Cluster spent the next several minutes crying before accepting his fate as mapmaker for the 69th Battalion. He was soon sent out to routinely scour and detail the surrounding countryside and forests, sketching each area with maxim detail to strategically lead the 69th Battalion around any possible Yankee campgrounds.
With his drawing skills, he seemed a natural fit and attacked this role with tremendous zeal as seen in his recovered diary:
“….the South has pic’d me to be mapper for the 69th battalion. I am to go to the surroundin wood and find places for their feets to walk safely. The woods and lands arund us are lush with mountainous breasts like Aunt Sarah with dense dark bush liek Cousin-Sister Margaret while nearby long, wet snaky penis rivers roar mightily like yours truly 69th mapper.”
In February, 1862, the 69th was ordered to advance to the NW territory of Virginia. Armed with Cartographer Cluster’s maps, Gen. Pontius “Cotton King” Abnerathy led the 69th—straight into a Yankee soldier
campground in the middle of drills training.
What ensued was total bedlam. From the torn pages of Cotton King Abernathy’s journal:
“….but I’ve since blamed the fire on the Negro boy sleeping nearby. It’s ok; he’s my son.
February 16, 1862–after several fruitless days wan’ring the forrests, we have finally reached what appeared to be ‘Weiner River’ according to Cart. Cluster’s map. We are all most weary from spending the night before telling ghost stories and wasting musket pellets to make the Sam.i.am. dance for us. As we walked along the river, we heard the sound of many men training and so sent Cart. Cluster ahead to scout. He returned with a report telling us that he told the men ahead we were tired Southern soldiers who’d spent the evening before shooting at Negroes. Cluster said upon hearing this, the men were quite eager to see us. We are walking to the camp now.
February 16, 1862 (later that day)–just entered camp. Cluster’s lead us to Yanks! We’re outnumbered 18 to 1 with little ammo left. Damn that Soul Train line last night…. Cluster is no where to be seen…..he’s f*cked us….guns are drawn….must break for Titty Mount–“
Sadly, this is where Gen. Abernathy’s journal ends, but accounts from “Cluster F*ck’s Battle” has the casualty tally at close to 200 on the side of the Confederate 69th. Reports state that the Confederate 69th could only be heard screaming “Cluster! f-ck! Cluster! F-CK” over the hail of bullets. Surprisingly, among the only survivor was sidekick Sam.i.am. who’d picked up a musket and joined the Yanks in the scrum.
It would not be the last time that a member of the i.am. clan sold out.
As for Cluster himself, proud to have lead the battalion to “kin”, he went off to the banks of Weiner River to make mudpies for the two battalions. It is believed that it was while gathering mud-batter that he found what he most likely thought were “prank silly teeth” buried in the mud.
His body was later found along the river, its face caught in a bear trap.