When we were children, there was a joke about three boys sitting in a boat. One was called biteme, another one pinchme and a third hitme.
Hitme fell out of the boat. Who remained in the boat?
You can guess what happened next.
In Rabelais and His World, Bakhtin describes a somewhat similar word game.
He then interpreted phrases such as “nemo deum vidit” (“Nobody has seen God”), along with many other references to nobody, to mean that Nemo referred to a proper noun and thus was a certain person and that the phrase actually meant “Saint Nobody has seen God”.
Bakhtin remarks: “everything impossible, inadmissible, inaccessible is, on the contrary, permitted for Nemo. Thanks to this transposition, Nemo acquires the majestic aspect of a being almost equal to God, endowed with unique, exceptional powers, knowledge (he knows that which no one else knows), and extraordinary freedom (he is allowed that which nobody is permitted.)”
I am reminded of another childhood memory. I have younger brother who is called Joost. There is a Dutch expression which says “Joost mag het weten,” (literally “Joost is allowed to know [it]”) meaning “heaven knows” or “God knows” (nobody knows).
When we were children, many people used to say jokingly to my brother “Joost mag het weten.”
One day — apparently fearing that some big secret was being kept from me — I asked my mother. “Mother, when am I allowed to know it?”