Sometimes I think that words are like cloves. That secret ingredient that spices up an evening dinner, one can also linger over them, like a clove cigarette. Words can sweeten the air--a clove-like incense--or they can incense, too, infuriating the person who listens. And they alleviate our aches, like clove-oil on a tooth. Versatile, if anything, especially in lexical usage: A clove of garlic. A cloven hoof. An evergreen clove tree on the island of Zanzibar.
Words are so protean, so flexible--so like cloves--but some enjoy an extra dash of multifunctional fun. One of them has a particularly rambunctious time here in Spanish. Pedo is its name, and raising the roof is often it's game. It's a clove of a word if I ever heard one pronounced. Yet I cannot say it would smell just as sweet, or improve on the recipe for a polite exchange of thoughts; in it's very first definition, a pedo is a fart.
And yet it doesn't stop there, like a lonely, singular toot. Here's a scenario of it's many-faceted forms: If your tequila-sipping buddy finds himself three sheets to the wind, he's as pedo as they come, drunk as a skunk, if you will. And on the feminine side of the word, that party you just threw would be a peda to remember, a booze-fest with your friends.
A fellow you invited who got lost along the way, clueless and obtuse, no sabe ni que pedo, doesn't even know what's up. Three hours later, when he shows up at your door, he's frazzled and positively ready to agarrar el pedo, catching up with the libations that were flowing hours before. You pat him on the back and then you ask him how's he's doing. "¿Qué pedo?" you query, hoping things in his life are just fine. But he shoots you a look, a death-stare of blame for his car-ride gone awry, and your tone of voice changes to an aggressive and accusatory note, asking "¿Qué pedo?" again and now implying, "What's your problem?" He shakes himself from his foul-mood stupor, wanting to slide into your good graces. "No hay pedo," he meekly states. There's no problem in the least.
And that's the good old pedo for you. True to it's crudeness, it nevertheless has no problem at all in morphing its meaning, in adjusting its use when it's needed. A little linguistic hilarity sure makes a language a lot more fun. Like a few extra cloves in the peda's punch of spiced rum.