WOW #72

You young whipper-snapper snowflakes today….  This is how we did it in The Good Old Days!

I was recently reading an historical novel on my Kindle.  I came upon a passage where a female personal assistant (read secretary – at that time, a secretary was a lockable writing desk, and 50 years later, a typewriter was the person who ran the new-fangled machine) in 1850 NYC, produced a document for her lawyer boss on a

PTEROTYPE

I’ve run into some strange and uncommon words, but this one stunned me.  The word was coined near the end of The Golden Age, when learned men all spoke some Latin, and a little Greek.  Fortunately, I could just tap the screen to investigate this strange word.  It took me to a Wikipedia article about a predecessor to the typewriter. pterotype – Google Search

File:Pterotype.jpg – Wikipedia

During further research, without even asking, dictionary.com first took me to ‘Stereotype,’ and later offered me ‘Proterotype,’ which is the first example of any new article. So, this is the proterotype of the pterotype.

Historically, technologically, we have come so far, so fast.  I can just imagine trying to pound out a letter, using this monster.  The lawyer might better have used the services of Bartleby the Scrivener.  I’ll keep my word-processing program and Spell-Check, thanx.

Perfect One-Liners

A perfectionist walked into a bar….
….Apparently it wasn’t set high enough.

My professor accused me of plagiarism….
….His words, not mine.

During the COVID pandemic….
….Is not the time to surround yourself with positive people.

I’m in an open marriage….
….I just found out.

How do you stop a bull from charging?….
….You just unplug it.

The leading cause of dry skin….
….Is towels.

My wife and I had this long, pointless argument about which vowel is most important….
….I won.

People say that time is money….
….I don’t buy that for a second.

My wife asked if I had seen the dog bowl….
….I said, No, I didn’t know he could.

I got assaulted by a mime for having a spasm….
….He thought I was heckling.

I wish everything was as easy as….
….Getting fat.

I asked my therapist if driving my car 100 MPH was an emotional problem….
….She asked me to pay two weeks in advance.

My wife says she’s going to leave me because of my addiction to poker….
….But I think she’s bluffing.

What do you call someone who can’t stick to a diet?….
….A desserter.

Old age is when you’re faced with two temptations….
….And you choose the one that will get you home by nine o’clock.

The trouble with learning from experience….
….Is that you never graduate.

Wait! One day at a time….
….Like, FOREVER??!

I tried starting up a hot-air balloon company….
….But it never took off.

I’m great at multi-tasking….
….I can waste time, be unproductive, and procrastinate, all at once.

My wife said, “Look at this.  I haven’t worn this in years, and it still fits.”….
….I said, “It’s a scarf.”

If only Sarcasm….
….Burned calories

My First (Imaginary) Car

Old Jalopy

Once upon a time, I owned a car – not of my dreams, but in my dreams. It had a 1-1/2 cylinder engine, and ran on Macassar Oil. Since I was much younger when I imagined it, it was a much older make. It was a Rolls-Cunardly. It Rolls real good down hills, but Cunardly make it up the other side.

It didn’t come with all the creature comforts that today’s cars possess. In fact, I don’t remember any comfort at all. It didn’t have a windshield because, even at its top, blazing speed, the breeze flow wouldn’t equal a hot-air hand dryer.

Its balky, 5-speed gearbox was shifted with a long, floor-mounted handle, in a wide W pattern. In first gear, you could have checked what was in the glove compartment, except this car only had a shelf where, until recently, a red lantern was kept, that a footman had to precede the vehicle with.

You couldn’t put it in second gear if there was a lady in the car – although my girlfriend Muriel, said she enjoyed the vibration. Putting it in third would have allowed you to tune the radio, if it had one. Even if it did, all you’d have heard were the faint beeps that Marconi got, when someone told him to go fly a kite in Newfoundland.

Fourth gear would have allowed you to check your pocket change, but there was no need, since neither toll roads nor parking meters had been invented. Fifth gear was where it began overtaking garden snails. Care had to be taken, not to hit the simple on/off switch on the steering column, and shut it down.

Keys, and locks, and security systems were dreams for the future. Who would steal this monster? I left it running in front of a store one day, and came back to find a silver dollar and a note on the seat. You poor lad, I feel so sorry for you. Buy yourself a bicycle.

Where was reverse, you ask? Toward the top of a steep hill! The brakes were mechanical, and none too reliable. Just don’t park anywhere it was necessary to back up – or convince two husky bystanders to push it back for you. I used a crank-start system to get it going. Not the bent, metal thing. I got the grouchy old guy named Archon who lived next door, to help push me and bump-start it.

Some of the above details might not be accurate. They’re just intended to remind the Millennials about how tough we old coots had to be. Actually turn on a stove and cook food??! Ewww! My condo doesn’t even have a stove. Couldn’t you just tell your smart phone to call Skip The Dishes, or DoorDash, and have your meals delivered? 🙄

Flash Fiction #220

Nostalgia

THOSE WERE THE DAYS

The old man sat at his computer, longing for ‘The Good Old Days,’ knowing they weren’t really, what with polio, segregation and World Wars.

He tried to keep up, especially with the avalanche of technology – every month, new Smart Phones, tablets, readers, apps, games, Twitter, Facebook…. Sometimes progress could only be measured by how less quickly he was losing ground, running hard, just to stay in place.

He didn’t know how the young ones kept up. Some used methamphetamines. For the life of him, he couldn’t guess why. Surely their brains were already churning at the speed of light.

***

Click on Those Were The Days, if you’d like to hear Archie and Edith longing for the same nostalgia, then go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story

Friday Fictioneers

Flash Fiction #188

Lilliput

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD

His grandfather had this house built, over a century ago. It had been a proud mansion, 2-1/2 stories of fieldstone, a mile and a half from town, dwarfing nearby one-story wooden farm houses.

Times changed. Commerce changed. Businesses started up, and workers moved in. The city changed. Steadily it bloated out towards him, into pristine Mennonite farmland.

Now, the house was the last of its kind, on a busy street, a Lilliputian, towered over by apartment buildings. Developers constantly hounded him to sell. He would mourn the loss of his heritage, but it was time to surrender and move on.

Mennonite

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

***

Friday Fictioneers

’19 A To Z Challenge – A

AtoZ2019Letter A

 

Life is moving too fast! I want to get off; I’m feeling woozy.

Logrithmic Scale

Humans used bows and arrows for thousands of years, then someone invented the crossbow. We used that for a couple of centuries, and someone invented the musket. That was used for over a hundred years, till someone invented the rifle. After less than a century, someone developed the repeating, lever action rifle. About fifty years later, the automatic rifle came into being.

Don’t like the idea of killing and maiming?? Let’s talk about recorded communication.

For eons, we scratched things into pottery or soft rocks. Then, some genius carved up a goose feather and dipped it into a dark liquid, and wrote on vellum (Scraped lamb-skin). We did that for a millennium, till paper was developed. Then later, someone created the reloadable fountain pen. A half century later, technology allowed Lazlo Biro to produce the first workable ball-point pen.

The typewriter was created, and Mark Twain was the first author to compose a novel, using one. He disliked the experience so much, that he tried to give it away – 8 times. Each time, it was returned to him. 75 years later, the first word processors became available, and in half that time, they’ve become quicker, more efficient, smarter…. and almost indispensable.

Isaac Newton said that he accomplished what he did, “Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants.” What I’m saying – the point I’m trying to make is that, as we progress, the progress comes faster and faster. Once, we had millennia, centuries, decades to get used to the idea of our basic world changing. Now, changes come in years, months, weeks!

Author Alvin Toffler invented the term “Future Shock,” the future is the way of life. The only constant, is change. Many of us have a hard time keeping up. Not only does the constant, rapid change keep us mentally off-balance – shocked – but it produces a related condition.

Alterity-
Alterity is a noun that means otherness; specifically: the quality or state of being radically alien to the conscious self or a particular cultural orientation.

Alterity is related to the verb alter, which can mean to change something, into something other – something different. It’s also cousin to the adjective alter – as in alter-ego. Batman is Bruce Wayne’s radically different alter-ego.

The Canadian band, imaginatively named The Band, says that Life Is A Carnival. It often has me spun. Why don’t you spin back again in a couple of days??  😀

 

Flash Fiction #185

Ferris Wheel

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

GOING NOWHERE FAST

Why is a Ferris wheel like the workaday world?

The word ‘wheel’ implies progress. On his Day Off, with the wheel Ferris Buehler invented, it achieves no progress. It lifts you up to see vistas of productivity. Then it lets you back down to the mundane.

It spins you around several times. There are exciting lights and sounds that make you think that something is actually being accomplished, but when it comes to a stop, you’re right back where you started, ready to get taken for another ride tomorrow. And, you’re surrounded by geeks that would make any fair proud.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

Flash Fiction #173

Squeaky Wheel

PHOTO PROMPT © Nick Allen

GOING’ROUND AND ‘ROUND

Nobody was embezzling.  It was just a minor accounting anomaly which occasionally caused me problems.

I approached the bookkeeper.  She said she wasn’t authorized to modify procedure.  The Office Manager was always hip-deep in alligators.  At the weekly progress meeting, no-one wanted to accept responsibility.

The CFO said to get his secretary schedule a meeting, and we’d ‘discuss it.’  I finally got the Documents Clerk to include a line-item in the annual shareholders’ report.  Suddenly the President was all about transparency.

The squeaky wheel really is the one that gets the grease.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Friday Fictioneers

WOW #25

Embarrassment

“Twenty words that will show your age.” – That’s the title of one of Dictionary.com’s articles.  Another is, “Only kids from the 90s know these words.”  I was already feeling old, when I ran into….

BAGATELLE

Definitions for bagatelle

something of little value or importance; a trifle. a game played on a board having holes at one end into which balls are to be struck with a cue. pinball.

Origin of bagatelle Bagatelle came to English from French, from Upper Italian bagat(t)ella, equivalent to bagatt(a) “small possession.” It entered English in the 1630s.

And the bagatelle begat Pong. And Pong begat the video arcade. And the video arcade begat the game console, and people began to ignore each other, even sitting side by side. And the game console passed its mighty power unto the smart phone and the tablet. Mesmerised by the pretty blue screens, people began wandering around, bumping into each other, street signs, and mall fountains.

….I’ve got no finish for this post, just the usual random rant about the speed and scope of social and technological change – seemingly within a fruit-fly’s life-span – from mechanical to electric to electronic to digital, and soon, to quantum, from 6-volt cars to 12-volt, from 120-volt home appliances to 12-volt-transformer units, from incandescent lights, to fluorescent, to LEDs.

I’ve played a variety of pinball machines as a teen. Even younger, my parents gave me a Christmas present of a bagatelle. It was an undersized spring-loaded plastic replica of a 1911A Colt .45 caliber pistol, which fired pea-sized ball-bearings at targets enclosed by plastic dome, 18 inches away. It may have been the cause of my life-long love of the ‘look’ of the venerable, American-designed and made pistol. It was an inexpensive bagatelle game then, but if I’d kept it in good condition, I could have sold it to a collector for enough to finance my retirement now.

In my little hometown in the late 1940s and ‘50s, there were a few intellectuals who actually used the word ‘bagatelle.’ The phrase, “It’s a mere bagatelle.” might have been a requote of actor/comic W. C. Fields. Of course, the illiterate pond-scum that I was forced to hang around with said, “A mere bag o’ shells.” The informational value is almost the same – an inconsequential thing of little value.

Your visits and comments are not a mere bagatelle. What have you got to say about this dated old word?

Flash Fiction #118

trading-post

PHOTO PROMPT © Jean L. Hays

FADED GLORY

Two hunnerd years ago, there’d be 20,000 buffalo out there. It’d take ‘em all day to amble past.

150 years ago, it’d be 10,000 head of cattle bunchin’ up, to be driven to Chicago.

Almost a hunnerd years ago, they built this here ROOT 66, ta get from Chi-town, out to Californie.  Any given day, there’d be 5,000 cars passin’, lots faster than buffalo or cattle.  Enough of them stopped here, to make this place a gold mine. “Last chance for gas for 100 miles.”

Them glory days is done. Nowadays, it’s tough to get a tumbleweed to stop here.

***

Got to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.