Saturday, July 27, 2013

Handing Over The Reins

I decided to take a break for this post and turn it over to my Vice-President at the Treasure Coast Writers Guild - Peter Haase. Peter is a prolific author who has written books about his experiences growing up in Nazi Germany, his love of sailing and the eleven years he spent living on his boat, and several thought-provoking novels. You can find his books here.

Peter has written a clever piece on clichés, which fits in nicely with the main theme of this blog - language. As authors, we are advised to rarely, if ever, use them, because it displays an inability to come up with a better and more original way to express something. Rebel that he is, Peter has used most of them here. Enjoy!

At the crack of dawn, I counted the eggs before they hatched, put them all in one basket, and then fought my way up the creek without a paddle. For no rhyme or reason, I threw caution to the wind, abandoned ship, and took to my heels. Cool as a cucumber, without a care in the world, I went to town like nothing could stop me. Sure, it would have been easy to cross one of the bridges when I came to them; however, I had already burned them all because my left hand did not know what the right was doing. 

In hindsight, I should have poured the baby down the drain with the bathwater, but 20/20 vision isn’t always as clear as daylight. At the fork in the road, the baby began to cry, so I put the candy I had taken from it back in its mouth. As sure as two plus two adds up to something, I chose the road less traveled. It was so crowded, I got lost like the needle in a haystack. Only my sore thumb stuck out and someone thought I gave him the finger. He cursed like a drunken sailor, then bent over backwards to apologize.

In the nick of time, I reached the point of no return and asked myself, Self, I asked, where the hell am I? Why is there no light at the end of the tunnel? I was scared out of my wits. The answer came to me in a flash of lightning, but lightning wasn’t supposed to strike twice, and so I was left in the dark and stormy night, stumbling over stones that were better left unturned. I had either dodged the bullet, or I would have to bite it; one way or the other, it was an uphill battle.

I wanted to call it a day, but decided to make a break for it. No more beating around the bush. I’ll find the elusive creek behind the next bend in the road. Should be easy as pie, but things are usually in the last place you look and a shiver went down my spine, when it hit me: I’d be damned if I did, or if I didn’t. As far as the eye could reach, all over the map, I found myself between a rock and a hard place. Game over, I thought, the end of the rope. The baby cried, hungry as a bear cub in winter. I reached for the cookie in my pocket, but it had crumbled.

Now, I wasn’t born yesterday and perhaps not the sharpest crayon in the box, but if you thought I didn’t have an ace up my sleeve, you’d better think again. In a last ditch effort, I caught my second wind and fought tooth and nail, as if on fire, to coin a phrase, and I made headway, steady as I went. And all was not lost. There was the creek and my raft! Reason for a drink from my bottomless flask. Drunk as a skunk, I let myself be caught off guard and, like a bull in a china shop, stepped all over the egg shells. Searching far and wide for hours on end, I had to face the music: the chicks had flown the coop. Don’t cry over spilled milk, the baby’s toothless smile seemed to say. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, dust yourself off, and turn the page. You can’t win ‘em all. I swallowed the salty tears of defeat and I threw in the towel.

Then once again I had a wake-up call. No pain - no gain, it repeated ad nausea and once again I threw everything but the kitchen sink into my quest, sure that that and a quarter would get me over the hump. All’s well that ends well, it is said, but I saw no shining star, no silver lining from here to the gates of Heaven or Hell. Perhaps right around the corner? Curiosity killed the cat, said a voice in my head, but I stuck my neck out, for action speaks louder than words. I was determined to go to the bitter end, now or never, even if it took me two steps forward, and one back. I took a look at the bright side and, better late than never, I realized that it was all water under the bridge. You do or you don’t, it’s all six or half a dozen and I couldn’t care less. You can never have your cake and eat it too.

There are one hundred twenty clichés, give or take one or two, in these 775 words. It just goes to show you … Oops, there’s a couple more.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bringing Jimmy Back

It's been almost a year since I introduced you all to Jimmy. The post titled Staying Away From Jimmy has received more hits than any other of my blogs. I closed the original by saying, "To be continued," yet I didn't. You may want to read it to refresh yourself.

Now, let me bring you up to date on what has happened to our good friend.

Jimmy went from the Juvenile Rehabilitation Center straight to prison, because he hadn't sufficiently rehabilitated. When he was finally released from prison he was missing a few teeth, caused by several run-ins with a former English professor, Mortimer, who also happened to be 250 pounds of solid muscle. Over the years, Mortimer decided to bulk up because he found that being intimidating was the only way to get his students to pronounce words correctly. When he heard an offending word, like someone pronouncing "height" like it had an "h" at the end, saying "heighth," he would slug them. This was frowned upon by the principal, superintendent, and law enforcement, so he ended up in the slammer.

Jimmy had the misfortune of being Mortimer's cellmate. Jimmy continued his pronoun abuse, and Mortimer found a good reason to use him as a punching bag. Jimmy also had problems with a few words, like "height," so Mortimer had several reasons to pound Jimmy into the ground.

It started like this. They were in their cell when Jimmy turned to Mortimer and said, "Can I axe you a question?"

Mortimer said, "Excuse me?"

"I need to axe you a question."

The fist came out of nowhere. "It's 'ASK' you moron."

"OK, OK. I just wanted to know if you had any idea why that guard, Bruno, was being so mischievous lately?" Unfortunately, he pronounced it "mis-chee-vee-us."


Again,  he pronounced it incorrectly. Mortimer's fist flew through the air.

"It's 'mis-chi-vous', idiot. Where did you learn to speak?"

"In school. The one acrossed from the high-tension wires."

"Acrossed? You mean 'across' don't you?" POW!!

"Stop hitting me! You make me want to excape."

"Escape!!" Mortimer screamed, landing another blow. "There's no x in escape, and while we're at it, there's no x in espresso either!"

"Owww!! I'm bleeding. I need to get a bandage in my draw."


And that was just one day's English lessons.