R, E, S, P, E, C, T:
Find out what it means to me.
R, E, S, P, E, C, T.
Take out the TCB.
Sock it to me. Sock it to me. Sock it to me. Sock it to me. Sock it to me.
So sang Miss Aretha Franklin in a section that she added to Otis Redding’s song Respect. For years I misheard the words and believed that she was singing:
R, E, S, P, E, C, T.
Take out the T, C, P.
So I would remove the letters T, C and P from RESPECT and be left with rese, which means tremble- as anybody familiar with Chaucer’s description of the temple of Mars in The Knight’s Tale knows:
And therout came a rage and suche a veze,
That it made al the gate for to rese.
This seemed appropriate as Miss Franklin’s supposed paramour, who has previously been enjoined merely to “respect” her, is now at the song’s climax being asked to go further and to “rese” or tremble before her: a megalomaniac yearning to which the maenads respond with the incantation, “sock it to me sock it to me sock it to me” etc..
The only other explanation was that Miss Franklin was asking for TCP the well known brand of antiseptic, whose name is a shortening of trichlorophenylmethyliodosalicyl. Perhaps, I thought, she yearns to heal the metaphorical (or even literal) wounds inflicted upon her by her respectless beau by cleaning them with this literal and emotional disinfectant.
There was even the intriguing interpretation that Miss Franklin was demonstrating that respect could be cabalistically deconstructed into its two orthographical components of trembling and antiseptic.
Then in one damascene moment I heard that it was not P but B. Take out the TCB. TCB is an initialism for Taking Care of Business. This phrase, nearly unknown on our shores, was used as a catch-all excuse by the tardy American male of the mid twentieth century. As in:
Female: Why were you out until three in the morning?
Male: TCB, baby, TCB.
Miss Franklin is asking, therefore, that her lover cease to use this nebulous excuse; and therefore, by implication, she is entreating him to give up all those sins and divagations that would make such an excuse necessary.
Just thought you ought to know.