Conversation With a Friend

It’s been tough to get going today.  Started a post, didn’t like it.  It’s been shelved, till later. What would Floyd have to say?  If I know him as well as I think I do–something like this.  “If you have something to say–say it!  If you don’t have anything to say–then keep your trap shut!”  Maybe this little talk from 2015 will do me some good.

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“There seems to be a general decline in the ‘effimacaceousness’ of this blog,” Floyd observed–stroking his chin.

“How you figure?”  I answered his question with a question.

“He who answers a question with a question is a fool,”  Floyd philosophized.

“Will you get to the point and knock off the pseudo-intellectual shtick.”

“You’re first and foremost an imaginary character that exists only in my mind.  If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t be here.”

“Did I hurt your feelings?  Don’t get your shorts in a bunch.  Just listen.

Floyd was attired for summer–bib overalls and slouchy railroad engineer’s cap.  At least, this time he had on a t-shirt.

Customary brown chewing tobacco spittle stained the corners of his mouth.  He expounded homespun philosophy with one foot on the front bumper of his light blue Ford pickup.

“All I was trying to say–is you need to lighten things up a bit,” Floyd answered.  “Most people get #$%@^& tired of hearing the same negative, mopey )*%@%^* day after day.  I failed to mention that Floyd’s vocabulary would make longshoremen blush.

“I’m glad to see you turned out smarter than your buddy Larry.  He’s purt near broke with three ex-wives.  Hasn’t got a pot to *&$% in.  He should have had enough *&^#$@^! sense to quit after wife number two.”

I hadn’t thought about Floyd for a long time.  Something about unshaven, sweaty men in bibs I’d prefer to avoid–as a general rule.  He was a memorable character.  If one looked past the disheveled, gruff exterior–he always gave good advice.

 

Grammar Gremlins

For the next two weeks I won’t be a victim of grammar gremlins, since I will be away for jury duty.  Here’s a post about the perils of writing, from two years ago.

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Grammar gremlins, syntax stealers

Alliteration acrobats, cliché contortionists

With distorted senses of importance

At my expense, of course

Blew things out of proportion

Stealthy scissor seizers, poisoned-penned

Word-weavers, master manipulators

Reveled in misnomers, kept busy

With both ears to the grindstone

Eyes on the wheel

Because they knew

When donkeys flew

And where clouds kept

Hidden silver rainbows

Why, the man-in-the-moon

Smiled from ear-to-ear

And while I slept, they discussed

Barbie doll grills, Groucho pants

Willy worms, hair clanks, word banks

Prose pilfering, things that were

In every sense, way too weird

 

Word Storms

Hope sprang eternal

One could always hope

Broke the mold

Broke the bank

Shivered in cold

Just plain broke

Unknown unicorns

Unexpected Disney

Goofs, gaffes

Giraffe babies

As yet, unborn

Privacy fences

Fences mended

Hiccups, hedgehogs

Halves, wholes

Plastered, pasted

Consequences

Unintended

Waste not, want not

No time to waste

Prickly pears

Privacy pleas

Privacy, please

Shutterbugs

Starlets

Beautiful faces

Without hiding places

Charlatans

Blanketed in

Loosely knit

Cardigans

Wrong-way

Wayward Willies

Wicked Wandas

Agreed–word storms

Made the world

Seem weird

 

 

Dear Occupant

Step away

From the nostalgia posts

And no one will get hurt!

Said my conscience

Try something different

Dear Occupant

Was as personal

As this conversation

With my conscience

Was going to get

Arguing with one’s conscience

Never worked before

If I were lucky, a truce

Would be worked out

Those were pitiful

Attempts at humor

Remember humor?

What about just a few more

Slipped in–now and then?

Don’t overdo it!

Here’s what always works

What always worked?

What was sure fire?

Self-deprecating humor

That’s what

Knowing you

You’ll probably

Overdo that, too

Fortune Cookie Guru’s Fortunes Fizzle

Donald Lau,  chief fortune writer at Wonton Foods–the largest provider of fortune cookies, noodles, and other Chinese staples; after 30 years has writer’s block.

I used to write 100 a year, but I’ve only written two or three a month over the past year, Lau recently told “Time” magazine.

It happens to everyone sooner or later.  Thirty years was a good run.  Mr. Lau plans to step down–let someone else take over.  Over the years, fortune cookie fortunes have changed.  Twenty-first century fortunes lean more to new age philosophy.

According to a Time article, some diners have taken cookie fortunes way too seriously.  The fortune cookie company was investigated in 2005, when 110 Powerball lottery players won about $19 million after using the “lucky number” on the back of fortunes.  A jilted wife claimed to be the victim of her husband’s fortune promising him romance on his next business trip, and a satisfied customer wrote to say he got a new job after reading a fortune about a new opportunity coming his way.

I wondered if Mr. Lau was ever envious of writers in other genres?  For example, greeting card writers.  Greeting card authors, could at least fall back on terrible puns.  Puns so terrible–they were cute.  Have a “punny day,” “wasn’t that the punniest thing?” or other drivel, equally lame.

My personal favorite is alliteration.  It’s almost an obsession.  An awful affliction, and a struggle, to allow alliteration an amenable amelioration.  But, that’s not the point.  Mr. Lau kept it fresh, kept it real for thirty years.  Few of us, myself above all, will ever do as well.

 

–Highlights from an original article, penned by Kristen Bahler, “Money Magazine Careers”–