Sometimes, when we have come to the point of resolute belief in a vile world devoid of any shred of redeeming quality, at the darkest minute* of the darkest hour, we are shown the shining face of Hope. I refer, of course, to The Price is Right. My particular irredeemable morning (this one) was brightened immeasurably by the uplifting story of recent contestant Mrs. Clarabel F. Wrrb**, of Bloomington, IN, now up in arms over the prize she won on the show. Mrs. Wrrb is accusing the Price is Right honchos of false advertising, inasmuch as she was promised a Pontiac Stigmata, whereas the prize she actually received, in the words of a Price is Right spokesman, "may or may not have been in fact a bendy straw".***
Yes, the resolution to put the noose aside and forge ahead with our lives is influenced in no small part by such stories. That and physical fitness. Physical fitness and death do not mesh, as evidenced by a recent Aarkvard study in which death was proven - via a complicated scientific process involving much complicated science - to be the third-leading cause of sedentary activity.**** The researchers at the study's helm were able to prove this via the highly scientific method of killing someone physically unfit, after which time, to quote the researchers, "the subject remained physically unfit".
But life goes on, or at least my life does, which means I have to go to the Aarkvard gym (motto: "Now With 33% Less Asbestos"). Unfortunately, it does not suffice to go once. Repeated voyages must be made, which means, sooner or later, you will find yourself forced to: interact with other human beings. I am generally against interaction with other human beings, seeing as it tends to involve - far be it from me to make a "blanket statement" - interaction. Take the other day: I was on the treadmill, reading my English text, wherein the author makes the highly suspicious assertion that our language (English) is filled with land mine-style "rhetorical devices" with names like "hendiadys". This is highly suspicious on account of the following:
1. They are made up.
2. They tend to sound faintly sinister, as in, "Suddenly Vlad found himself staring down the barrel of a .38 caliber auxesis."
3. They also sound more than faintly bacterial, as in, "Mom, Dad, I don't know how to tell you this, but Eric gave me anaphora."
From these three examples we can see, most clearly, that I know how to list three examples. But I digress. My point is that such books work wonders as social lubricant, as evidenced by the following conversation, which Factually Took Place***** when a guy of the male variety assumed position on the treadmill beside me:
GUY OF THE MALE VARIETY: What's that?
ME: A book.
GOTMV: Is it an English book?
GOTMV: Huh. Is it Strunk and White?
ME: No, it's - (I show him the book.)
GOTMV: Huh. It looked like Strunk and White.
ME: Oh. Well, it's not.
GOTMV: Huh. (Meaningful pause.) Do you study English?
ME: Yes, I'm taking a Shakespeare class.
GOTMV: Oh. Shakespeare is good.
Having thus Made His Move, Mr. Smooth returned to his cycling, and I mine. This is the sort of steamy social interface that occurs daily within Aarkvard University, and I just thought you should know.
Meanwhile, the Holiday Season approaches apace, not that you could tell from the barren, cheerless university landscape, with nary a candy cane or eggnog dollop in sight. This atmosphere is something else I would find highly suspicious, were I not aware of the latest Initiative from university President Ephram M. Cloaca (motto: "Making Affable Faces Since Whatever Year They Brought Him In Here Which I Don't Feel Like Looking Up").****** This is the Elf Dissection Initiative, whereby the Aarkvard Biology Department is allowed to dissect elves for the purpose of elf dissection. Needless to say, they are bringing down the entire Christmas operation piece by piece; but the downside is outweighed by the scientific benefits to humankind offered by the experiment, in the sense that - in the words of one eminent Aarkvard biologist - "it's fun". Me, I'm just looking forward to that moment Monday night when I step off the jet into the state of Maine, secure in the warm holiday glow that can come only from the knowledge that you will summarily die from the combined effects of hypothermia and hunters.
I close, for the moment, with a question to you, my faithful readership leagues (4) strong: have any among you been lucky enough to witness the recent car commercial in which a major car company (to protect their identity, I will refer to them only by the pseudonym "Zadillac") seems to be suggesting - and once again please note, legal-eagle types, that I said SEEMS to be suggesting - that you should have sex with their product? It's not to be missed. The commercial, I mean. If you haven't seen it already, I suggest you seek it out at once. Don't thank me - consider it my Christmas gift to you. Better yet, tell you what: I'll throw in, for each and every one of you, a Pontiac Stigmata.
**Not her real name. Her real name is "Mrs. Clarabel W. Frrb".
***This was discovered following a minor problem with the transmission.
****I suppose you'd like to know what the first two are.
*****Disclaimer: Like You Would Know If I Made It Up Ha Ha Ha.
******Lest you subscribe to a spurious belief, allow me to disabuse you right now of the notion that President Cloaca's only function is devising Initiatives. He also wears ties.
©2007, Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending