Thursday, March 22, 2012

Meet Goofy Thunderton!

Goofy Thunderton sees his bathroom not as a functional adjunct so much as a spiritual retreat center.
“Is he in there now?” Fawn Underwood inquired during the Tour of Homes.
Del Thunderton nodded resolutely and banged the bathroom door with wifely chagrin. “Goofy, I know you’re in there. Come out. We have guests.”
From behind the door: “The Tour of Homes?”
“That’s right. They’re all here.”
“I don’t like the Tour of Homes. I like it in here.”
Goofy’s annoyance at the Tour dates from 1999 when the pilgrimage found him three martinis to the wind. Remarks were made, none of which Goofy forgot.
Del, having none of it, drummed the door. “Fawn Underwood wants to see inside.”
Fawn Underwood stood by, tapping her foot.
“I’ll describe it to her,” called Goofy. “It’s charming. Wood paneling. Books. A sort of soigné understatement. You’d love it, Fawn.”
Fawn Underwood was livid. “Open that door, you Cro-Magnon. If you didn’t want us, you shouldn’t have signed up for the Tour! .... Goofy. Do you hear me?”
“Yes, I hear you. Bit of a crisis in here. Dropped an olive in the bidet.”
Others had gathered outside the bathroom door. “He’s got a pitcher of martinis in there,” remarked Roy Underwood.
Del tried her sweet, plaintive voice, “’Goofeeee, you’re embarrassing meeee. Come out an say hello.”
“I’ll say it from here. Hello everyone. This is Sylvester Thunderton, your host. I wish all of you could be in here with me. This is my world, so to speak. However, I know you have other homes to infest.”
Shrugged Roy Underwood, “You know what they say: A  man’s home is his castle.”
“More like his bunker,” sniffed Fawn Underwood, who solicitously patted Del’s arm. “I know how embarrassed you must be.”
Smiling primly, Del inserted a key into the lock and pushed the door. Fawn’s eyes lit up. “Ready or not Goofy,” she smirked. As the door cracked, Fawn wedged a leg inside. Goofy pushed back.
“Fawn, get your leg out,” warned Roy, tugging his wife.
“Yeah, it’s turning blue,” agreed Goofy. Fawn extracted her leg with an “ungh” and hobbled away, the others following, showering Fawn and Del with solicitude.
From inside the bathroom: “Leaving so soon? Loved having you. Come again.”

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Want to rewrite history? Go ahead!

Certain classic American utterances could frankly use some punching up. I’ve appointed myself history’s public relations guy, with the following results. We know what they really said; here’s what they might have said:
Washington’s farewell to his troops: “And may this day herald the end of those #*@^ powdered wigs. I hate those things.”
Lindbergh in Paris: “When they make a movie, could Jimmy Stewart play me? Course he’d have to dye his hair.” (Note: that casting did occur for the movie Spirit of St. Louis with Mr. Stewart a truly inauthentic blonde.)
Neil Armstrong on the moon: “They wrote something for me to say, but frankly I hate scripted historic utterances. Actually I’m just up here to, you know, fool around. There’s really not much to do. It’s not like you can order a pizza.”
Rosa Parks in Montgomery: “Hell no, I’m not moving to the back. It’s full of exhaust fumes.”
Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) in Casablanca: “Play it Sam. Play the German National Anthem.”
William Faulkner accepting the Nobel Prize in Oslo: “And to those geezers and codgers sitting around the square in Oxford saying I’d never amount to anything…. nyah nyah nyah.”
General Anthony McAuliffe at Bastogne: “Tell the Germans I said nuts and then did an impromptu samba around headquarters. By the way, Georgie Patton is coming, right?”
Bert Parks reflecting on the Miss America Pageant: “Face it, it hasn’t been the same since I left. It was never about the girls.”
General Eisenhower on D-Day: “Yesterday, June 5, 1944, one of the reporters asked me, ‘Hey Ike, anything on for tomorrow?’ I told him yeah, right Pal, we’re invading Europe. He told me his readers demanded a serious answer.”
Stephen A. Douglas in Illinois: “So anyway, Abe wants to go around the state in a series of debates. Is he out of his rail-splitting mind? I’ll cream him.” (Note: Douglas did win the Senate seat, but the debates were nevertheless Lincoln’s ticket to the 1860 presidential nomination.)
General Douglas MacArthur upon his return to the Philippines: “Ok I’m back. Got my pants legs all wet walking ashore. Could one of you guys get me some dry socks?”
Mahatma Gandhi during his fasting period: “I don’t want to obsess over this thing. Maybe just a club sandwich and some iced tea.”

Monday, March 5, 2012

This column will literally knock you out

Okay, so it won’t literally knock anyone out; only figuratively. Thus is the adverb ‘literally’ misapplied.
Take Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri who spoke as follows on MSNBC: “Nine or ten years ago a dead frog could get credit. Literally.”
One certainly sees her point about the credit market, as vivified by the adverb. So, if a dead frog could literally get credit, the scenario might have gone something like this:
The loan officer was aghast. “What do you mean he wants credit?”
“A home loan,” explained the visitor.
“But… he’s a frog.”
“I’m speaking for him.”
“But he’s dead.”
“Yeah, he croaked.”
“What’s his occupation?”
“Actually he avoids all gigs. Just hangs around his pad.”
The loan officer rolled his eyes. “Is this an honest portrayal?”
“Yes. Warts and all.”
“Very impressive. Would $50,000 at 4 percent be satisfactory?”
A few more everyday uses of ‘literally:’
“He literally hit the ceiling!” (Yep, climbed up a ladder and punched the plaster.)
“She literally blew her top.” (What a mess; brains everywhere.)
“I literally could have strangled him.” One hopes this is a figurative usage but who knows? Can’t you hear Judge Judy from the bench? “You literally strangled him? Why’s he still alive?”
“Okay, not literally.”
“You’re free to go but watch those syntax.”
Judge Judy is to jurisprudence what Ronald McDonald is to cuisine. That woman’s voice literally gives me the willies.