Saturday, March 16, 2013

In Short Order

Category: Humor/Satire, Poetry/Lyrics

“Engineering, what’s the progress on our landing process on Anovita 6?” Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise asks Lieutenant La Forge whom he had asked to collect and organize the essential details about the compatibility of the starship’s landing on the reportedly habitable moon about 800 light years away from Earth.

“Captain, the multi-phase interaction of residual sediments on Anovita 6’s surface has a 79 percent potential for quasi-chemical transformational interaction with the inter-atomic structure of starship’s physical constitution and a 72 percent potential for biochemical alteration of intelligent cellular units on the ship,” Lieutenant La Forge’s answer makes the Captain bite his lip as he silently stands on the bridge, looking at Counselor Troi and Commander Data. Then he addresses the commander, “Data, what did he say?”

“Captain, he is saying that landing of our starship on Anovita 6’s surface is scientifically not advisable at this time,” Data answers without moving his eyes from the navigation panel in front of him.

“Thank you Data,” Captain nods and turns to the screen showing the Engineering department. “Lieutenant La Forge, I am sorry I didn’t sanction your application for the leave you requested last week. I grant you that leave request with immediate effect and you are free to take a break for the next 3 months.”

“Thank you Captain, but I had requested only 3 weeks of leave,” Lieutenant La Forge sounds a little surprised.

“I know Lieutenant,” Captain says, turning to face Commander Data again. “While Commander Data takes charge of the Engineering department to replace you for that long, I will have you take a two month-course in effective communication. Hope you enjoy the classes.”

~ ~ ~

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 – 10 pm

After a tiring day at the workshop, I am looking at the mid-term composition tests now and I see that some of my students have made a lot of progress in using their competence in English to express their thoughts in an essay. However, this guy Phil seems to have taken a fancy to using pretty heavy words where I usually like to see one-hundredth of what he writes. To him, the book fair was “an instantiation of intellectual attentiveness” whereas Brad’s “cool” works perfect for a comment. Now Phil’s “meticulous articulation of verbal expression” would have been fine had I not known that English has the long-known words “well-crafted language” to convey the thought clearly and concisely. In one sense, I shouldn’t be surprised to have something of the sort I am seeing in Phil’s effort on his assignments. What Longinus warned against as “timidity” has an appeal for students who want to overachieve and be the smart, ahead-of-time kids – those imagining the “lofty” as the ideal. What they don’t imagine is a teacher who happens to be a human with a full-time job, and more often than not a good deal of additional work, and who comes home to a cat, makes her own dinner, does the dishes, and then grades assignments when her very bed is yelling at her to stop working that late. But with Phil’s quest for choosing the weighty words, the duration of sleep is bound to shorten – an “inverse proportion” as they would call it in math. But maybe I need a make a difference here by putting my own brain to work. I could surely have taught the lesson on choice of words in one of the early classes instead of placing it in middle of the syllabus. Yes, that’s right. To stop Phil, and his like for that matter, I need to revise the syllabus for the order of the lessons. So I’ll get to it tomorrow. Right now, back to Phil’s “achievement”.

~ ~ ~

When Vincent Gabriel Jones started dating Gina, he was so moved by his new love interest that he started writing poems. He always chose the themes “beauty” and “love”, representing Gina and him respectively. Their dating went on for about four months. During this time, he wrote so many poems that had he not just “gifted” them to his “star” twice a day, he could have published a book that could get his name into the Guinness Book of World Records for the very length of it. With time, the guys and girls around them started discussing their dating. Wasn’t it unusually long, especially for a knockout like Gina who usually chose not to go out with her previous dates after a maximum of three times? It was Herbert who turned everybody’s curiosity into a direct question for Vincent.

“I believe she loves me truly and that’s why we are seeing each other, with a deepening feeling of love day by day,” Vincent told with a happy smile. “Now you would most probably ask me why this love for me when she doesn’t stick with a single guy so long?” Herbert nodded.

“I believe it’s because I don’t pose a challenge to her, whether by means of forcefully reiterating my likes and dislikes or by using language that takes my message to her head instead of her heart,” Vincent explained.
“You mean to say the poetry is working this magic?” Herbert asked to confirm what he guessed.

“Well, not just the poems,” said Vincent with a smile. “It’s what I say and how I say it; it’s all in the words, not between them. But the poetry too has played a major role in the dating success. Her mom is a poetry editor and she likes what I say about her daughter in those lines. Of course I keep it short and clear so as not to make it sound too meaty. Thanks to Richard Lederer, I finally was able to work out why half a dozen girls said ‘no thank you’ to me each month after I introduced myself to them.”
Unfortunately, a week after this satisfactory conversation about his dating success, Gina refused to go out with Vincent and asked him to find himself some other girl who knew how to fill his name of Appalachian length in those tiny boxes on reservation forms. 

~ ~ ~

A Short Word Singing

Those who judge me by my size
Make an old and common error
For my power can and does
Induce joy, awe, and terror
See the problem with my rivals
Makes them hardly worth a dime
Closely held I am by many
Since I save a lot of time
Not a burden but the balance
I make a language fun
You remove “me” from your life
You lose “all”, are left with “none”

Posted by Prometheus on 03/16 at 07:34 PM | Permalink
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