The word if the day is “gat.” I understand that David’s boss did not know what that means. I take that as a sign of aristocracy, for among gentlemen, only those with a love of linguistics tend to know the meaning of words utilized by rabble like my black-sheep brother David.
I trust I need no introduction. I am R. Collins Farquhar IV, David’s consanguineous twin brother. I got the good genes. David, if you are wondering, is not here tonight, so I took it upon myself to fill in for him. My best guess is that he is out trying to buy a “gat.” I understand they are available relatively inexpensively in the neighborhood surrounding the building where he works.

The word is commonly heard on the streets, where I am sure my impecunious brother would gladly spend much of his time if his boss did not keep a very tight leash on him. But I propound that the word actually has a quite fascinating history, which is very unusual for the topics David brings up. So I will take this time to share a descant with you.

The patent for the first practical machine gun was granted on the 4th of November of the year 1862 CE to Dr. Richard J. Gatling. The Gatling Gun stayed in use until 1911 CE. Although little more than a gewgaw today, the Gatling Gun was revolutionary in its time.

Some simpleton historians suggest Dr. Gatling’s goal was to obviate war by making it so devastating that men would no longer melee. Of course, that did not happen. Just ask the French, who succeeded in having themselves overrun and devastated twice in the 20th century CE and had to be bailed out by the Scots, many of whom had to come back across the Atlantic from America to do it.

Dr. Gatling was a doctor, as in medical doctor. Watching the dead return from the Civil War, he noticed that a small percentage actually died of gunshots. It was apparent to his eye that the most parlous thing about war was disease, not bullets.

In a letter dated 1877 CE, he wrote: “It occurred to me that if I could invent a machine–a gun–which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would, to a large extent supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease [would] be greatly diminished.”

He was irrefragably right about exposure to disease. His theory about battle was less considerably cogent. He would have learned, had be bothered to ask me, that exposure to battle was not as easy to cure.

While the Gatling gun is no longer in use, the word “gat” came to be a slang phrase, generally meaning “handgun” or “pistol.” You still hear the word used in the streets today. Or so my sources tell me.