The TRG unites persons who share a passionate interest in preserving, recycling and reusing commodity goods to the vanishing point. At last Thursday’s meeting members gave updates on their ongoing projects. Dee Eace’s teabag is going into its sixth year and still has “plenty of flavor left.” Sehar Wye showed some giftwrapping paper that has been passed back and forth between her sister-in-law and herself for a total of 28 Christmases and birthdays and has served to wrap packages ranging in size from a costume jewelry ring to an outdoor barbecue oven. Junior member Petie Tehay shared his secrets for restoring chewing gum flavor and showed slides of his collection of vintage wads dating back to 1994. Chai Essayen passed around a plastic yogurt tub that she inherited from her grandmother and that still has the original lid. She is currently using the container as a receptacle for her collection of mid-20th century deep-fat frying grease. “I know some of the bacon drippings are from before 1978,” reports Essayen, “because that’s when we moved and I remember bringing them with us in a coffee can.” Next month’s meeting will be a tea luncheon at the Eace’s house.
The meeting of the “And Etcetera” Chapter of the National Order of Language Butchers was called to order at 7:30 pm on Thursday night at the home of Treasurer Dia-May Isle. First came the recitation of the club’s pledge:
“What’s the diff?
I mean really: If
You use bad grammar
And mumble and stammer
And haw and hem
Through a throatful of phlegm,
People still seem
To know what you mean.
More or less,
Or at least I guess,
Pretty much, you know?
So, like, hey, whoa!
No reason to flip
On some high-horse trip
Just for some little
Goof, error or piddle-
ing small violation
Or syntax, declension
Conjugation, rhyme or scansion!
Like, hey, I dunno,
For me, why should we go
Bust our butts to talk right
When it possibly might
Not really be such
A big deal to make much
Or whatever. . . ”
Several new resolutions were passed. Members were urged to write to dictionary editors asking to have the words “irregardless,” “fourple” and “overexaggerate” accepted as standard English, drop the first “C” in “arctic,” recognize the pronunciation “mis-chee-vee-ous” and add a new definition of “reticent” allowing its use as a synonym for “hesitant.” Emmy Ayan of the Junior Chapter gave a report on her recent trip to Washington D.C., where the National Chapter presented her with a special award for spearheading a successful campaign to eradicate the use of the verb “said” at all local area high schools. Oatie Eatty presented the Malapropism Committee’s list for this month’s Vocabulary-Shrinking Exercise, including the terms “duck tape,” “notary republic,” “unthaw” and “prostrate gland.” At the end of the meeting members signed an open letter to President G. W. Bush congratulating him on his pronunciation of “nuclear.”
OPAP is open to everyone, performing artist or not, who is sufficiently gullible or cretinous to think that other people find them genuinely cool when they mime playing a musical instrument, plus artists of any discipline who can’t seem to stifle the urge to behave in such a way as to virtually scream to everyone around them, “I’m a Dancer!” or “I’m a Pianist!” or whatever. At the last meeting, Owen Abie of the Air Guitarists Workshop presented a paper on proper tuning. Ariel Laty of the Air Drums Section gave a demonstration of safety precautions to be observed while walking down a crowded street “playing the drums.” (“Limit yourself to two bass drums and a maximum of three floor toms,” says Ariel, “and keep cymbal crashes to a minimum.”) Ivy Ehar of the Dancers Who Can’t Wait in Line at the Bank Without Doing a Few Pliés showed how to hail a taxicab with a flying jeté. Lastly, Ian O’Dubb of the Classical Pianists Who Can’t Resist Fingering Difficult Passages on Tabletops shared tips for looking studiously distracted as though any worldly, non-artistic thought is such an unbearable burden.
The SCSSS is made up of people who have a clear, specific idea of how the universe ought to be and become testy, peevish, irritable and — most importantly — uncommunicative whenever it fails to live up to their expectations. According to the bylaws, silent sulking is the only acceptable means of expressing disappointment with friends, family and co-workers. Actually informing the “offender” of what they did wrong is grounds for immediate expulsion from the club.
At the last meeting, role-playing exercises were conducted using scenarios like “Don’t do what I said, do what I meant”, “I didn’t say so, but I meant now”, “Not that there’s any way for you to know this, but you’d better apologize in about five seconds or I’ll never speak to you again” and “Nothing’s wrong! (protracted sigh).”
Longtime member Elle Ewan was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award for her many contributions to the art of creative self-inflicted mental suffering. Among the many anecdotes recounted about Elle’s exploits over the years was the story about a long road trip she took with her husband in 1994. As nightfall approached on the first day, they passed another car that already had its headlights on, and Mr. Ewan said, “Well I guess I better put my lights on too.” Elle clammed up immediately and sustained furious self-righteous silence for the rest of the trip plus seven full weeks after their return before he finally figured out what he had said wrong. (Note for the benefit of non-members: Since the car was partially hers, he should have said “put OUR lights on.” Isn’t it incredible how some people only think of themselves?!)
The time and place of the next meeting were not announced. Members who can’t figure out where to go and when might as well just drop out.
The half-baked self-serving rationalizations were flying at last Thursday’s meeting of the FRA. The Tax Cheats Subcommittee has come up with new reasons why they should be allowed to evade income, property, probate and other taxes, including:
* “When I was first starting out and really needed money, the government didn’t give me any. So now that I’m pulling down 280 thou a year, why should I give them any?”
* “People say that by evading taxes I’m not paying my fair share for public works, sewers, roads, police and fire protection and so forth. But I once heard about these people somewhere whose house burned down because the fire department didn’t get there in time. Why should I pay for a service that doesn’t even work?”
* “The government knows that some people are going to pay less than their fair share of taxes, so they artificially raise the tax rates for everybody else. In other words, my taxes have already been paid for.”
The Shoplifters Subcommittee displayed the goods they have pilfered since the last meeting and outlined the reasons why they deserve to have them, including:
* “My mom was probably going to buy me a skirt just like this for my birthday, so there’s no reason why I should have to pay for it.”
* “If they didn’t want you to shoplift they’d have better security.”
* “When a big wealthy company like Sears raises its prices, it’s stealing from the public. So I’m just evening the score.”
The FRA is always looking for new members, especially people who are good at nodding and exchanging approving glances with their eyebrows raised, lips closed and lower jaws pulled down. Note that this is one of the few area organizations that actively welcomes smokers.
A local chapter of the Fellowship of Misplaced Earnestness is being founded to unite several special-interest groups, including:
* People who have become estranged from their own immediate families due to repeated shouting matches about political issues but don’t bother to vote.
* People who block crowded supermarket checkout lanes to complain to a minimum-wage clerk who’s quitting at the end of the week anyway about what they find offensive in the TV ads for a product on sale somewhere in the store.
* People who accost strangers on the street to tell them that they should stop smoking, boycott Nike, go on a diet, etc.
* People who expect any social gathering to suspend all other conversation and activity in order to share in their anguish over some dire (real or perceived) situation on the other side of the globe.
* People who won’t get out of a cab until they have converted the driver to socialism, vegetarianism, Buddhism, etc.
An organizational meeting will be held next Thursday at 6:00 pm in the basement of the Unitarian Church.
The Knee-Jerk Aggressiveness League has canceled its annual fastpitch hardball game with the Always Right-Never Wrong Alliance due to an inability to agree on a date. Or place. Or starting time. Or batting order. Or umpire. Or rain date. Or who should supply the ball. Or whether to allow cheering. Or where each team’s supporters should sit in the stands. Or where they should park in the parking lot. Or where to go for drinks afterward. Or what the original argument was about in the first place. Or whose fault it is that the plans for a simple friendly game of baseball have degenerated into a never-ending cycle of petty bickering. Or who’s been bending over backwards since the very beginning to work this thing out in a reasonable manner. Or who’s always trying to blame the other side for everything. Or who can shove it up their. . .