Powerful One-Liners

If electronic devices can all just charge wirelessly….
….Then more power to them.

My friend kept asking me what my military rank was….
….But I told him it was Private.

Why did the optometrist set his clock to Army time?….
….Because he wanted to see 20:20

A soldier went into an enemy bar….
….He got bombed.

What do you call a Marine with an IQ of 160?….
….A platoon.

My high school basketball team didn’t have ice on the sidelines….
….The guy with the recipe graduated.

Remember, if you don’t sin….
….Jesus died for nothing.

I got fired from my job as a massage therapist….
….My boss said I rubbed people the wrong way.

Don’t ask me about my pan pizza….
….It’s personal

A friend asked, “Aren’t you afraid to eat at those food trucks?”….
….When I eat, it’s the food that’s scared.

Every place is within walking distance….
….If you have enough time.

What do you call a student who cheated on every test through medical school?….
….Hopefully, not your doctor.

I’d like a job cleaning mirrors….
….It’s something I could really see myself doing.

If electricity comes from electrons….
….Morality comes from morons.

I finally decided to start working out….
….I did 15 minutes of cardio, 15 minutes of strength training,  and three days of hospital.

What do you call a tiny mother?….
….A minimum.

My wife is taking our son to a child psychologist….
….He said he wants to grow up just like me.

To anybody who received a book from me at Christmas….
….They’re overdue at the library.

I’m glad I wasn’t born in Germany….
….Because I can’t speak German.

Whoever invented Knock, Knock jokes….
….Should get a no bell prize.

Someone once told me to search for inner peace….
….I’ve looked.  It isn’t in here.

Fibbing Friday – Ivy

Well, here we are sports fans, at the famed Non Sequitur Speedway.  Today’s race will be when we take the English language, which the Brits claim to have invented, and prove that many of them don’t speak or write it as well as most Americans…. and that’s a low bar

Where Happy Hour is from 6 to 7 PM.  All drinks half price.
Mimosas are free to any guy, man enough to order one.
You ask – We promise not to tell
.   😉

After we give thanks for Pensitivity101 and her pit crew of collaborators, we’ll be off to the race for the Lies of the Century – or at least this afternoon.  The pole lineup for today is as follows….

  1. What’s the difference between “going on holiday” and “taking a vacation”?
    What are you vacating when you go on a “Vacation?” As I said, your desk, your chair, your employer, your house, your municipality, and often your better judgment. And yet, especially with COVID, a vacation might be a staycation, while going on holiday,” more strongly indicates a trip, but not with a “caravan,” which is a line of vehicles, not a pull-along, camper trailer.
  2. What’s the difference between a “rubbish bin” and a “trash can”?

    Many English people talk rubbish, while Americans have raised trash talking to a performance art. Brits must talk considerable rubbish.  They require an entire bin to contain it, where Americans get their trash in a can.  There’s no mention of a dust-bin, which contains no dust.  I think it’s all garbage, anyway.
  3. What’s the difference between the “boot” of a car and the “trunk” of a car?

    Two nations, separated by a common language – and by how the moldy upper crust treated the lower classes. When British Milord and Lady went on a carriage trip, they sat inside, protected from dust and weather.  At the rear of the carriage was a small shelf where a couple of servants, or Boots, gamely clung on, till they were needed.  Americans, being a tiny bit more egalitarian, forewent the dangling servants, and used the space for storage of necessary things that they packed in a steamer Trunk, and strapped to the back of these new horseless carriages.  Eventually, these automotive areas were enclosed, and they both became the same thing, only different.
  4. What’s the difference between a “nappie” and a “diaper”?

    ‘Nappie’ is short for ‘napkin’, the thing that the usually persnickety Hercule Poirot uses to create an etiquette faux pas, by tucking in at his neck when he eats. A diaper is used to catch stain-causing food matter at the other end.  The word comes from the Greek di aspros – meaning pure white.  It’s called a diaper for short, but not for long.
  5. What’s the difference between the “pavement” and a “sidewalk”? Pavement is the usually-black-stuff that covers roadways – tarmac, or Macadam – The stuff that a Scotsman invented so that the English moneyed class could smoothly, comfortably re-invade drive north to vacation – or holiday – however their wealth entitles them to describe it, in Scotland. Sidewalk is a place, often made of concrete, to ‘walk’, at the ‘side’ of the pavement portion where the cars drive.  No wonder Brits are confused by these terms.  They already drive, and probably walk, on the wrong side of the roads and the language.
  6. What’s the difference between “chips” and “French fries”?
    Chips are what are confused for French fries, at chip wagons and fish and chips shops, especially British ones, and England has a plethora of them. They now shout, “We’re number 2!” because they’ve been supplanted by Curry in a Hurry.  England has yet to emerge into the 20th century, and admit that ‘potato chips’ is the American development of the language.  They call them ‘crisps,’ which might well also be crisp Cheese Crunch-Its.  My brother visited a roadside restaurant on a trip to Yellowstone Park, and requested a hamburger, and an ‘order of chips.’  He was quite distressed when the server tore open a bag of Hostess “chips” and poured them on his plate.
  7. What’s the difference between the “bonnet” of a car and the “hood” of a car?

    A bonnet would be on the front of a woman-owned car, or on the head of the woman who owns it. She’s probably named the car – something cutesy, like Peaches.  On the other hand, a Hood (sometimes) covers the turbo-charged power-plant of a manly-man’s performance car…. Which he isn’t using to compensate for anything.  😉
  8. What’s the difference between a “rubber” and an “eraser”?
    If you use a rubber at every conceivable opportunity, you won’t require the services of an eraser, which are still illegal in many districts, especially Texas, and now, Florida, as well.
  9. What’s the difference between a “flannel” and a “washcloth”?

    Flannel is what is used to make my Canadian formal shirts. My washcloths are made from soft, absorbent terry cotton.
  10. What’s the difference between a “pram” and a “stroller”?

    Pushable child transporters with wheels were invented during the Golden Era, when everybody who was somebody (as long as he was a man), spoke much Latin, and a little Greek. The device was given the pretentious Latin name, perambulator meaning ‘inspector, or surveyor,’ but coming to mean ‘ramble, or stroll’ and finally ‘to walk with.’

The common man – or more often, the common woman – had no time for all that, and it quickly shortened to pram.  The stroller – the person walking – soon added that name to the device being walked with.  Prams used to be more commonly lie-down carriers, while strollers tend to have the baby sitting upright.  My mother transported my brother in a baby buggy.  Being a bit older, she dragged me around with a travois.

Things I Learned While Researching Other Things

I give all credit for the idea of this post to the late journalist Sydney J. Harris, who would occasionally include something he called “Things I Learned While Looking Up Other Things” in his syndicated column.

This is a post about words and phrases. These are my building blocks, so they’re something I’m always interested in.  You understand the sometimes frustrating task of trying to find the correct word or phrase.

Occasionally, I’ll read or type words that I may understand in the context in which I’m seeing or using them, but will suddenly realize that I’m not certain where the words or phrases originated.

In this amazing Computer Age, I can afford a few minutes of distraction to investigate them further.

Right off the bat — As expected, the phrase “right off the bat,” meaning “immediately; at once; without delay” is a sports metaphor that has been traced back to the late 1880s with that usage. I just made the assumption that the sport was baseball—and it probably is—but some suggest that it may have originated with cricket (as baseball did).

Nitpicker — The word nitpicker means someone who finds faults, however small or unimportant, everywhere they look. We all know someone like that. If we don’t, it’s probably us. The word itself is relatively new, from about 1950 or so. It comes from the idea of picking nits (or lice eggs) out of someone’s hair. A nitpicker is as meticulous about finding faults as a literal nitpicker should be at finding each louse egg. Yes, it’s kind of a disgusting word origin, which is why nitpicker has negative connotations.

Top-notch — We know that top-notch means “excellent” or “of the highest quality.” But, what are its origins? It seems that no one really knows. It first appeared suddenly in its current usage in the mid-19th century. It has been suggested that it originated from one of several tossing games imported from Scotland that required a player to throw a weighted object over a horizontal bar. The best score would be when the bar was in the “top notch,” naturally. This sounds reasonable, but it’s really just a guess. Other guesses have it relating to logging, with the best lumberjacks able to cut from the highest notches, or some such thing. Another had something to do with candles and courting, but that’s been mostly debunked. Bottom line: we don’t know.

Since Hector was a pup* — Meaning “for a long time.” I can’t say this is exactly a regional colloquialism, although I heard it the first (and only) time from some guy in South Carolina. He said that it was something his dad always said, and, in the context it was used, the meaning was obvious.  Best guess, according to Internet sources, is that it is referring to the Trojan War hero Hector, since the phrase originated during a time when people were more well-versed in the classics. And that was, indeed, a long time ago.

Hemming and hawing — The phrase means to hesitate to give a definite answer. It dates back to the 1400s and is echoic in nature. A more modern interpretation would be “um-ing and er-ing” probably, with “um” and “er” being common filler sounds in hesitant speech. I always assumed it had something to do with either sewing or sailing. I was mistaken.

Gamut — I used the word “gamut,” knowing that its definition meant the complete range or scope of something. My actual sentence began “our entertainment choices run the gamut from …” But, where did the word “gamut” come from? It turns out that gamut originally meant “lowest note in the medieval musical scale” and it was a contraction of Medieval Latin gamma ut, from gamma, the Greek letter indicating a note below A, plus ut (later called do (as in “do re mi”), the low note on the six-note musical scale. So the word gamut was originally all about music, but later morphed into meaning “the whole musical scale,” or, figuratively, “the entire range or scale” of anything. Its first usage in this manner can be traced to the 1620s.

Honeymoon — The word and concept of the honeymoon owes more than a little to alcohol (as do some weddings: but, I digress—). The medieval tradition of drinking honeyed wine for a full moon cycle after a wedding was supposed to ensure a fruitful union between the new bride and groom. I guess Champagne is a modern-day analogue to honey wine.

Throwback — It means a person or thing that is similar to something of an earlier type or time. It was already in use with more or less the current definition in the mid-19th century. It is a combination of the verb “throw” and the adverb “back.” I can’t find a more pithy origin story for the word, even apocryphal stories that have been debunked. I was sure it would have its origin in the sport of fishing.

Venting your spleen — This particular idiom means “to express your anger.” From medieval times until the 19th century, the spleen—an organ in the body near the stomach—was thought to be the source of the “humors” that caused the emotion of anger. This is a colorful and archaic phrase. I contracted hepatitis as a 12-year-old.  (My mother called it jaundice, because I turned a lovely yellow/orange color from all the excess bile in my system.  I couldn’t keep food or drink down for two weeks, and lost 20 pounds – not a good thing on a skinny, stick-thin kid.)  But, I digress— anyway, my spleen was swollen while I had jaundice. I don’t recall being angry, but I did throw up a lot.

One to grow on — I thought an origin for this idiom would be easy to find, but it remains mostly a mystery.  When you had a birthday, it was a tradition to receive your birthday spanking by your friends or family, with the flat of the hand or with a paddle or belt. One person on-line said the birthday person would be “lightly paddled.” They didn’t live anywhere near me. Anyway, you’d get one swat for each year of your age, and then one extra swat, called the “one to grow on.” It’s like the baker’s dozen of birthday-themed beatings. I still don’t know the origins. Here’s one guess: you say something “grows on” you to mean that you become accustomed to it. Is the birthday punishment tradition meant for you to get used to pain because that’s all adulthood has to offer you in the future? That’s a little bleak, but it will serve as a placeholder until someone can offer me a better explanation.

* * * * *

Things I Learned While Researching Other Things = TILWROT
Remember that!  
As a lover of words, I know I’ll keep collecting these. Plus, I’ll keep posting them, I’m sure.

*Actually…. My Mother used to say, “Since ‘Towser’ was a pup.”  Now I’m off to research ‘Towser.’  Lord knows what I’ll find.

 

Rave On

A Flash Fiction about a rave in a park, brought questions from ‘Old Fogeys’ about WHY.  I responded that I once worked with a young fellow who said that, after work, he was going to the big bar down the street, to party with 300 strangers. He was strange enough to fit right in. I didn’t see the attraction.

The answer may lie in the ability to make a drunken (and/or drugged-out) fool of yourself in anonymity.  A second layer to that answer may relate to ‘Good Christians’, who want to engage in (to them) SINFUL behavior, without friends, relatives, or neighbors finding out.  It’s how my Father and Mother met and got married.

During the 1940s and ‘50s, in my area, it was not considered wise to go drinking (and perhaps, pursuing the company of young females) in a local establishment.  I heard the axioms, ‘Don’t Shit Where You Eat,’ and, ‘Don’t Mess Your Own Nest.’   During the war years, young men of Armed Service age, who were  drinking in a bar, might be loudly and forcefully accosted.

My Mother’s younger brother and a pal, used to drive 30 miles north, to my Father’s home town, to do their drinking and Hoo-Rahing.  My Mother returned from Detroit, sans husband.  When my Father returned from Naval Service, her brother was quick to point out that she was single and available.  Introductions were made, and soon, a marriage was performed.  Don’t start counting on your fingers.  I was born 14 months after the wedding date.

Even after he was married, the local undertaker/furniture store owner used to drive 30 miles south every Saturday night to go anonymously drinking.  The town was a mile off the north/south highway, and the access road used to come out to a T-intersection.  Drinking and driving must have been an Olympic sport.  So many cars wound up through the fence, and into a farmer’s field, that the Department of Highways added a 90 degree curve merge ramp.

One Saturday night – actually Sunday morning – he went screaming around the merge ramp at highway speed.  Normally, at that time, the highway would be empty, but this night there was a young family returning from a visit to his parents.  If he even noticed them, he still slammed into the side of their car, spinning it out of control, first into a tree, and then a deep drainage culvert.

The mother and young boy were killed instantly.  The father survived, but was so badly smashed up that he could never work.  The dark joke around town was that the undertaker was just making more business for himself.

You want to party?  You want to get drunk?  You want to do drugs?  You want to do it –not at Cheers – where nobody knows your name?  You have the right to be stupid.  Just carry ID, so the cops know who to notify – either for a funeral, medical treatment, or bail.

Click to hear Buddy Holly going to a rave, back in 1958.

Psychology Of Comedy

A new teacher was trying to make use of her psychology courses.
She started her class by saying, “Everyone who thinks you’re stupid, stand up!” After a few seconds, Little Johnny stood up.
The teacher said, “Do you think you’re stupid, Little Johnny?” “No, ma’am, but I hate to see you standing there all by yourself!”

***

My wife asked me,
“What do you like most about me, babe; my pretty face or my sexy body?”
I looked her over from head to toe and replied,
“I like your sense of humor.”

***

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day.

In English, he said, A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative.

A voice from the back of the room piped up, Yeah, right.

*******

A: I’m not going to take the COVID vaccine!
B: Why?
A: I don’t want to get chipped by Bill Gates!
B: Do you have a Smartphone?
A: Yeah, why?
B: Hahahahahahaha!

***

A champion jockey is about to enter an important steeplechase race on a new horse. The horse’s trainer meets him before the race and says, ”All you have to remember with this horse is that every time you approach a jump, you have to shout, ‘ALLLLEEE OOOP!’ really loudly in the horse’s ear. Providing you do that, you’ll be fine.”
The jockey thinks the trainer is mad but promises to shout the command. The race begins and they approach the first hurdle. The jockey ignores the trainer’s ridiculous advice and the horse crashes straight through the center of the jump.
They carry on and approach the second hurdle. The jockey, somewhat embarrassed, whispers ‘alleeee ooop’ in the horse’s ear. The same thing happens — the horse crashes straight through the center of the jump.
At the third hurdle, the jockey thinks, ”It’s no good, I’ll have to do it,” and yells, ”ALLLEEE OOOP!” really loudly.
Sure enough, the horse sails over the jump with no problems. This continues for the rest of the race, but due to the earlier problems the horse only finishes third.
The trainer is fuming and asks the jockey what went wrong. The jockey replies, ”Nothing is wrong with me — it’s this bloody horse. What is he — deaf or something?”
The trainer replies, ”Deaf?? DEAF?? He’s not deaf — he’s BLIND!”

*******

Loud, mad, or sad

The psychology instructor had just finished a lecture on mental health and was giving an oral test.
Speaking specifically about manic depression, she asked, “How would you diagnose a patient who walks back and forth screaming at the top of his lungs one minute, then sits in a chair weeping uncontrollably the next?”
A young man in the rear raised his hand and answered, “A basketball coach?”

********

Bob left work one Friday evening.

But it was payday, so instead of going home, he stayed out the entire weekend partying with his friends and spending his entire wages.

When he finally appeared at home on Sunday night, he was confronted by his angry wife and was barraged for nearly two hours with a tirade befitting his actions. Finally his wife stopped the nagging and said to him, “How would you like it if you didn’t see me for two or three days?”

He replied, “That would be fine with me.”

Monday went by and he didn’t see his wife.

Tuesday and Wednesday came and went with the same results.

But on Thursday, the swelling went down just enough where he could see her a little out of the corner of his left eye.

***

Flash Fiction #246

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER

I never thought I’d say, ‘I wanna go back to work.’

It’s nice that the company arranged working remotely from home by computer, but, I want to go to the break room for a mug of the world’s worst coffee, or ruin my diet with a donut or cake – ‘cause it’s always someone’s birthday.  I miss the office gossip, politics, and resident weirdo.  I miss the water-cooler sports discussions, even if I hate sports.  I even miss breathe-on-you, Lecherous Lennie’s tales of barroom conquests – all the little things that used to irk me.

This “NEW NORMAL” is getting old, fast.

***

Want to join the Friday Fictioneers fun??  Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

Being A Baby About One-Liners

Baby

People ask me what I’d like for my 76th birthday….
….I tell them, a paternity suit.

I’ve got rid of all my winter fat….
….Now I have spring rolls.

A bike in town keeps running me over….
….It’s a vicious cycle.

Is a cow that won’t give milk a milk dud….
….or an udder failure?

I’m so good at sleeping….
….I can do it with my eyes closed

I took a video of my shoe yesterday….
….It has some great footage.

Today at the bank, an old woman asked me to check her balance….
….so I pushed her over.

Average things are manufactured….
….in the satisfactory.

My wife says I’m absolutely useless at fixing appliances….
….Well, she’s in for a shock

I have a black belt in origami….
….I made it myself

How many lawyers does it take to fill an ambulance?….
….I don’t know. No-one’s ever tried to save one.

We don’t have an alarm system….
….I was just standing on the cat

A horse walks into a bar….
….The bartender says, ”Hey.”….
….The horse replies, “Sure.”

A hermit is….
….a man who goes off by himself

To improve my sex life I took Viagra and a bit of cannabis….
….I just ended up with stiff joints.

I can eat sugar with either hand….
….I’m ambi-dextrose.

Two guys walk into a bar….
….The third one ducked

Would you like to hear a construction joke?….
….Well, I’m still working on it.

Wanna hear a roof joke?….
….Okay, the first one’s on the house.

A Freudian slip is when you say one thing….
….but mean your Mother

Ghosts like to ride in elevators….
….because it raises their spirits

I just spent $10,000 on home improvements….
….Now my home wants to leave me.

I’ve been watching women’s beach volleyball, and there was a wrist injury….
….but I should be okay by tomorrow

If you have a lot of math nerds in your family….
….you have square roots

What do electricians discuss?….
….Current events

 

Small Town Reality

Small Town

A recent humor post about small towns elicited some comments, questions, and not-necessarily-good memories. For those with curiosity, or defective nostalgia, here’s the real low, down.

Baskin-Robbins only has three ice cream flavors.

Corporate America has still not reached my little Canadian town. There used to be a couple of independent, Mom-and-Pop convenience stores that hand-dipped ice cream, before pre-packaged treats became available. Now they subsist by selling lottery tickets to folks dreaming about having enough money to get out.

You had to step out of the village limits in order to change your mind.

That’s a trick question. Nobody in my town changes their mind.

The nickname for the city jail is amoeba because it only has one cell.

Hah! Our town jail has two cells. One for drunken white men, and another for drunken Indians from the adjoining reservation.

McDonalds only has one Golden Arch and the nearest one is 15 miles away.

The nearest one is in the next town, 5 miles closer to the nuclear reactor, and the only source of employment left in the area.

Instead of a 7-11 they have a 3.5 – 5.5.

See ‘no corporate America’ above. 3.5 X 5.5 refers to metres – 20 by 30 feet sized convenience stores.

The New Year’s baby was born in April.

With all the screwing that’s going on, some of it even by people who are married – to each other – you’d think this would happen earlier in the year. All praise free birth-control information on the internet.

The “Welcome To” and “Thanks for Visiting “signs are front and back of the same sign.

The town has a lot of long-term summer residents – rich city folks who own expensive cottages. Neither they, nor the residents, really want transient, stay-at-a-tourist-camp visitors. There is no ‘Welcome’, or ‘Thanks’ sign. It was left to the Department of Highways to identify where drivers were with a generic sign.

You have to go to the next town to find 2nd Street….

At least there’s nothing as bland as 1st, 2nd, or 3rd Street in my home-town. We have a British-type, High Street, which I was born on, as well as street names like Morpeth, Anglesia, Grosvenor, Grenville, Landsdowne, Breadlebane, and Augusta.

A “Night on the Town” only takes about ten minutes.

There are bars in two hotels on High Street, a block apart. White folks drink at one. Indians drink at the other. If you drink too long at either, your ten-minute ‘Night on the Town’ could stretch to 72 hours in the appropriate comfortably-appointed jail cell.

The Subway restaurant that serves foot-long sandwiches cannot fit within the village limits.

See ‘no corporate America’ again. There is a French-fries/hamburger/ hot-dog take-out building on the highway, behind the bank. It limps through the winter months, and produces retirement income during the summer.

You do not bother using turn signals because everyone already knows where you are going.

Laid out by British surveyors, the town has good sight-lines, and broad streets. It is one of two towns in Canada with a 100 foot-wide main street – most have 66. If you do manage to cut off a local resident, they feel free to tell you where to go.

Big social events are scheduled around when the high school gym floor is being varnished.

The local Legion is big enough to handle most ‘big’ social events. The local high school was closed in 1955, because of lack of students. The couple of dozen per year are bused five miles to the 350 student ‘District’ high school.

You call a wrong number and the person who answers can give you the correct number for the person you are trying to call..

While this was once true, the internet has become a boon, since the big Don’t-Give-A-Damn epidemic hit town.

There is no point in high-school reunions because everyone knows what everyone else is doing anyway.

This is true of those too dumb to get out. The ones who leave, just tend to disappear.
“Do you remember Bob?”
“Bob who?”
“We went to school with him.”
“You mean Rob?”
“Maybe….”
“I got no idea where he went.”

School gets canceled for Provincial sporting events.

No-one in my town was good enough at any sport to qualify for Provincial meets. Senior elementary classes are sometimes bused to District events.

It was cool to date someone from a different high-school.

It had to be from the same ‘District’ high school, but at least you could date someone from a different town – or a farm girl, who could show you alternate social uses for the hay-mow in the barn.

The golf course had only three holes.

There’s a quite-nice golf course, 2 miles out of town, where the old highway wisely bypassed this social morass, a century ago. More recently, a developer included a tournament-worthy course as a perk with his new housing subdivision, on the other side of town, right next to the Indian reservation, whose residents are wisely not allowed to be members. They are both 18-hole courses. Amusingly, just 2 miles away from my current, big-city house, is a course that the city has grown out and surrounded. It is a par-3 course.

Anyone you are looking for can be found at either the Dairy Queen or Wal-Mart, over in ‘The Big City’.

I remember when I thought that it was the cultural center of the Universe, with all of 10,000 residents.

Directions are given using the one and only stop light as a reference – after they finally installed one.

Even after they redirected the highway through the town, instead of past it, the intersection with the main street was a 4-way stop until the Department of Highways insisted on a traffic light in 1955. It’s still the only one.

Weekend excitement involves a trip to the grocery store.

1955 was a year of excitement. A Canadian-based supermarket came to town to challenge 3 little independent grocery stores. While considerable excitement can be had with bananas and cucumbers, the entire town was agog when they imported coconuts.

Your teachers remember when they taught your parents.

My Dad was a Johnny-come-lately, carpet-bagger, non-native. My Mom left in her early teens during the dirty-Thirties, and returned as an adult. None of the teachers had been inoculated, or developed a resistance to me.

The best burgers in town are at the four-lane bowling alley.

Our bowling alley had the best burgers and 8 lanes, but was an unheated summer-only, beach bowling alley, only open from the end of May, till Labor Day. The next town down had a year-round, 4-lane alley, but no lunch bar. The best burgers were next door at the owner’s A-frame, chalet diner.

Tell us about your tiny home-town…. or the unfortunate section of big city that you grew up in.

Why They Don’t Speak English

Stunned Emoji

Why do you study English??! We all speak it.   😳

The lights are on, but there’s nobody home.
The wheel isn’t turning. The hamster is dead.

Once upon a time, on a sunny September afternoon in 1958, I sat in a high school English class. We were studying Shakespeare’s ‘Merchant of Venice.’ The teacher had just read a passage, which included the phrase, “By dark and divers ways.”

The SCUBA diving system was a relatively recent invention, having only been patented by Jacques Cousteau 15 years earlier, in 1943. Suddenly, Biff, the class jock who sat in the row next to me, put up his hand. “Uh, Mr. Johnson, are they talking about guys who jump off cliffs, or that new SCUBA thingy?”

Mr. Johnson is bewildered. As far as he knew, we hadn’t been talking about people throwing themselves off cliffs – and he had no idea what a “SCUBA thingy” was. As he was stammering for a reply, I hissed at Biff, “Put an E on the end of it!”
“Whuh??
No talking in class!
Well, I was in it now. Might as well be hung for a sheep, as a lamb. “Put an E on the end of it!”
“Uh…. Edivers??”
That’s right Biff; there are two ends to a word. Only you would pick the wrong one. Now there were at least two confused people in the room.

“What’s going on back there?”

I stood up. I’m sorry Mr. Johnson. Biff saw the word ‘divers,’ and wondered if Shakespeare was talking about people who dive off things like cliffs, or if he was referring to the new mechanical system which allows people to be SCUBA divers, and breathe underwater, even though it didn’t exist 400 years ago.

We just came here from French class, where the French word ‘divers’ (dee-vare) means of many types, different, various. I was trying to tell Biff to add an E at the end, to produce the English word, ‘diverse.’

This led Mr. Johnson on a spirited lecture about the origin and changes to many English words, and got me off the hook. Biff probably went on to fame and fortune, and a football scholarship, while I can only define the word ‘obscure.’ He was regularly outwitted by the tackling dummy, and needed a handler to tie his shoes, ‘cause Velcro hadn’t been invented yet.

Flash Fiction #210

Success

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

FOCUS ON SUCCESS

Jacob attributed his ongoing academic – and hoped for, future –success, to his ability to compartmentalize and prioritize his mind; family here, sports over there, and social in the back corner.

He was aware of the hot chick in science class, with the top and shorts that were so tight that even he had trouble breathing, but he had a physics exam to write.

He didn’t understand just how he did it, and felt somewhat sorry for those who couldn’t – only somewhat. Many of them just didn’t seem to try. Achievement is obtained through Focus: straight A’s first then go swimming.

***

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

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