Flash Fiction # 81

Piano

PHOTO PROMPT © Jan W. Fields

IN THE KEY OF F. U.

As a young lad, my parents provided me with piano lessons.

My teacher thought I was very musically declined.

After three years of intense study, I could finally….spell P.I.A.N.O.

Soon, I could carry a tune….in my studies briefcase.

I learned to play piano by ear. It sounded better than when I used my fingers.

As piano players go….I was often ordered to.

A neighbor once requested that I play ‘Far, Far Away’….preferably the next county.

The best thing that I ever played was….the radio.

When I decided to become an accountant, the Mayor gave me the key….to a different city.

***

And there you have the history of my musical career. Despite Rochelle’s theme, sadly, little of it is fiction.

***

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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Missed Manners

Etiquette

During a good manners and etiquette class being held for young children, the teacher says to her students:

“If you were courting a well educated young girl from a prominent family and during a dinner for two, you needed to go to the toilet, what would you say to her?”

Mike replies: “Wait a minute; I’m going for a piss.”

The teacher says: “That would be very rude and improper on your part.”

Charlie replies: “I’m sorry, I need to go to the toilet, I’ll be back in a minute.”

The teacher says: “That’s much better but to mention the word “toilet” during a meal, is unpleasant.”

And Little Johnny says: “My dear, please excuse me for a moment. I have to go shake hands with a personal friend, whom I hope to be able to introduce to you after dinner.”

***

An 18th-century vagabond in England, exhausted and famished, came to a roadside Inn with a sign reading: “George and the Dragon.” He knocked. The Innkeeper’s wife stuck her head out a window. “Could ye spare some victuals? ” The woman glanced at his shabby, dirty clothes. “No!” she shouted. “Could I have a pint of ale? ” “No!” she shouted. “Could I at least use your privy?” “No!” she shouted again. The vagabond said, “Might I please…?” “What now?” the woman screeched, not allowing him to finish. “D’ye suppose,” he asked, “that I might have a word with George?”

***

URBAN MYTHS? OR INTRIGUING FACTS? – YOU DECIDE!

The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma.

No piece of paper can be folded in half more than seven (7) times.

Donkeys kill more people annually than plane crashes.

You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.

Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty (50) years of age or older.

The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley’s gum.

The King of Hearts is the only king WITHOUT A MOUSTACHE!

American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one (1) olive from each salad served in first-class.

Venus is the only planet that rotates clockwise. (Since Venus is normally associated with women, what does this tell you?)

Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.

Most dust particles in your house are made from DEAD SKIN!

The first owner of the Marlboro Company died of lung cancer. So did the first “Marlboro Man.”

Walt Disney was afraid OF MICE!

PEARLS MELT IN VINEGAR!

The three most valuable brand names on earth: Marlboro, Coca Cola, and Budweiser, in that order.

It is possible to lead a cow upstairs…but, not downstairs.

A duck’s quack doesn’t echo, and no one knows why.

Dentists have recommended that a toothbrush be kept at least six (6) feet away from a toilet to avoid airborne particles resulting from the flush. (I keep my toothbrush in the living room now!)

Turtles can breathe through their butts.

#469

Irish Ayes Are Smilin’

Guinness

 

 

 

 

 

Two Irishmen, looking to get rich, open a pub. After a year, they’re deep in red ink. One says, “I know, let’s turn it into a brothel.” The other replies, “Don’t be daft! We can’t get ‘em to drink beer. How are we goin’ to get ‘em to drink broth??”

***

A group of chess enthusiasts had checked into a
hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing
their recent tournament victories. After about an
hour, the manager came out of the office and
asked them to disperse. “But why?” they asked,
as they moved off. “Because,” he said, “I can’t
stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer.”

***

Do you know what is black and blue and found in a ditch?

A man who told one too many blonde jokes.

***

Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day.
Teach him how to fish and you can sell him equipment.

***

Error, no keyboard – press F1 to continue.

***

The brain is a wonderful organ. It starts working
the moment you get up in the morning and doesn’t
stop until you get into the office.

Robert Frost

***

The Pentagon recently found it had too many
Generals and offered an early retirement bonus.
They promised any general who retired straight
away, his full annually benefits PLUS $10,000.00
for every inch measured in a straight line along
the retiring general’s body between two points
he chose. (Something only Congress came up with!)

The first General accepted. He asked the pension man
to measure from the top of his head to the tip of
his toes. 6 feet. He walked out with a check of
$720,000.00.

The second General asked them to measure from the
tip of his outstretched hands to his toes. 8 feet!
He walked out with a check for $960,000.00.

Meantime, the first General had tipped off the
third. When he was asked where to measure, he
told the pension man. “From the tip of my penis
to my balls.” The pension man said that would be
fine, but he’d better get the Medical Officer to
do the measuring.

The Medical Officer attended and asked the
General to drop ’em. He did. The Medical Officer
placed the tape on the tip of the general’s penis
and began to work back. “My God!” he said.
“Where are your balls?”

The General replies, “In Viet Nam!”

***

The kindergarten teacher is trying to explain to
her class the definition of the word “definitely”
to them. To make sure the students have a good
understanding of the word, she asks them to use
it in a sentence.

When called upon, the first student says
“The sky is definitely blue”. The teacher
said “Well that isn’t entirely correct because
sometimes it’s gray and cloudy”.

Another student says “Grass is definitely green”.
Teacher again replies “If grass doesn’t get enough
water it turns brown, so that isn’t really correct”.

A third student raises his hand and asks the
teacher “Do farts have lumps?”  The teacher
replied, “No, and that is not a suitable question
for class discussion”. The student replies,
“Then I definitely shit my pants”.

 

What’s Weird About English?

 

 

Grammar Nazi

 

 

 

 

 

You say Grammar Nazi like it’s a bad thing.  Weird Al Yancovic has just released his most recent album.  To promote it, he has also released 8 music videos of the new songs in 8 days, including one sung to the tune of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines.  Not a parody of that song, it’s named Word Crimes, and contains lots of examples of what OCD word-nerds like me, rail about.

Weird Al

 

 

 

 

And so, I almost swooned when I read a recent post about it.  Written by a female English teacher, from south-east England, she had all kinds of strange questions and objections.  With regards to the English language: Why are there rules?  Why is one way correct, and all the other ways wrong?  Why is the pronunciation and usage of the south-east area of England the accepted norm?  That’s Classist!  We all manage to communicate.  English is an evolving language.

Where to start?  Where to start??!  If there are no rules, then in that direction lies anarchy and Babel.  Nowhere, in English, is there the equivalent of L’Office de la Langue Francaise, which insists on what is and is not allowed within the language.  However, like a newspaper style guide, there is an informal association of rather learned scholars, who have decided on the clearest and most accurate constructions and usages.

The speech of south-east England is the norm, because that’s where the Queen lives.  If we’re going to speak the Queen’s English, then we should speak it as she does.  We don’t need to use precisioneer grade language in all situations.  It is often best to speak or write for the level of the audience, but in general, we should aspire to better usage, not be content to roll around in the gutter of the likes of exclusionary Cockney rhyming slang.

We don’t “all communicate.”  We often barely manage to communicate.  Many attempts are laughable, tear-inducing or just eye-rolling.  English is indeed, an evolving language, but I would like the changes driven and guided more by intelligent scholars who have studied it, than by some pot-smoking dude with his name on his shirt – by those who know where it’s been, and where it should go.  We’ve seen some examples from Bob the burger-flipper, and they are not for the better.

She complained that Weird Al’s humorous little rant was too “Prescriptive,” that is, insisting that one way was correct and all others were different levels of wrong.  She felt that we should concentrate on “Descriptive” language, which allows people to be creative.  We had Hippies.  They didn’t work out.

Creative people are really not all that common.  They are the occasional goat among a fieldful of sheep, some of who think they’re creative, when really, they are all baa-ing, just in different accents.  You can be creative within the rules.  Often, the rules show where creativity starts, but a bottle full of urine, with the Pope’s picture in it, isn’t creative “Art,” that’s adolescent scatology.

Would you like some “Descriptive” descriptions of most of these “creative” people??!  Try Lazy, Iconoclastic, Inattentive, Incompetent, Uncaring, Rebellious, Entitled, Incomprehensible, and far too often, (Reverse) Classist.

They look down on education and proper usage, and insist that “they are as good as anybody else.”  Maybe in providing lube jobs, or French nails, but Bubba, there are people who can use words as effectively as you can use a torque-wrench or a nail-buffer.  These are the Bart Simpsons – underachievers, and proud of it.

Jeff Foxworthy admits the Southern U.S. accent is not the most sophisticated in the world, and you may be surprised when you get to Heaven, and St. Peter says, “Y’all git in the truck.  We’s goin’ up the big house.”  Maybe, but I’m betting against it.  If you don’t get out much, and are satisfied with sounding like the rest of the redneck yokels in “yer holler”, or the “known to Police” denizens of your urban slum – that’s okay.  I want to be able to efficiently and accurately communicate with English-speakers all over the country and around the world.

If this is the best that Our Miss Brooks offers to the formative and impressionable minds of her young students, then I truly worry for the future of our language, and our society.  Drop your socks and grab your….dictionaries.  Sound off – comprehensibly.