What are they on about?

13th October 2000 at 01:00
David Newnham suffers from word rage while stuck behind a lorry

The lorry in front is driving me crazy. It's been crawling along for 12 miles. But this isn't about road rage - it's about word rage.

Most trucks carry their owner's name - Norbert Dentressangle springs to mind. There might be a slogan such as "Lightening the load". And if you're lucky, the question: "How's my driving?" followed by the boss's telephone number.

But this lorry has a single word painted across its rear end. It simply says HISEX.

At an average speed of one mile every two minutes, I've had almost half an hour to think about HISEX, and I'm getting nowhere fast.

How do you say it? High-sex? Hee-sex? Hissocks? And what does it mean?

You can still buy bumper stickers that say "Make love not war - see driver for details". But even with punctuation, HISEX isn't much of a come-on.

Perhaps I'm wrong to think about sex. Broken into "his" and "ex", HISEX resembles the names people give their yachts. Yet after wrestling for several minutes with former girlfriends and malicious wives, I can get no sense out of "his ex"

At one point, a bend offers a side view of the lorry, and I briefly glimpse the word "poultry". Aha! Is this a wagon-load of ultra-libidinous cock-a-doodle-doos perhaps? No, there has to be more to it.

I recall a riddle (acrostic?) which involved writing "Have you any eggs?" and "Yes, I have ham and eggs" as FUNEX and SIFMNX respectively. But even applying these rules, all I get from HISEX is "age I yes eggs", which as a marketing slogan is hardly going to revitalise the rural economy overnight.

Then, finally, the lorry turns into a farm entrance. There is a sign by the gate, and a phone number. So when I get home, I ring it.

"It's about your lorries," I hear myself saying."Would you mind telling me what's meant by, er, hissocks?", A man's voice chuckles."Hissocks?" he says."Hi-sex."

And he reveals that HISEX refers to a breed of poultry in which all females are yellow and all males white.

"It's an amalgam of 'hybrid' and 'sexability'," he explains.

Yes, I know. That would give HYSEX, not HISEX. But why don't you ring the man? Like I said, this word is driving me crazy.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now