When Words Get In Your Way

Okay, that title is my way of creating some sort of linkage between the brand/mission of this website and the content of this particular post.  I get about three emails a day from SEO guys telling me I suck, so this is for them.

Then again, the post itself is really for you.  We’re word people, right?

This one cracked me up, and I wanted to share the love.  Not sure where it originated – it landed in my inbox with encouragement to forward if I wanted to avoid something horrible showing up in my life – but it is worth sharing. A good laugh always is.

Then again, it does demonstrate the power of the words we choose, and the way in which context controls everything.

And that, when from the mouths of babes, word selection sets the humor bar very high.

Enjoy.  I’m off to Portland to teach three workshops at the Willamette Writers Conference.  Tough crowd, wish me luck.

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How Asparagus Got Its Name

A first grade child was asked to write a book report on the entire Bible. Here is what he wrote:

The Children’s Bible in a Nutshell

In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas. The Bible says, “The Lord thy God is one,” but I think He must be a lot older than that.

Anyway, God said, “Give me a light!” and someone did.

Then God made the world.

He split the Adam and made Eve. Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren’t embarrassed because mirrors hadn’t been invented yet.

Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden… not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn’t have cars.

Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel. Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.

One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a Ham. Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it. He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.

After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast. Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.

Another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh’s people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no cable.

God fed the Israel Lights every day with manicotti. Then he gave them His Top Ten Commandments. These include: don’t lie, cheat, smoke, dance, or covet your neighbor’s stuff.

Oh, yeah, I just thought of one more: Humor thy father and thy mother.

One of Moses’ best helpers was Joshua who was the first Bible guy to use spies. Joshua fought the battle of Genital and the fence fell over on the town.

After Joshua came David. He got to be king by killing a giant with a slingshot. He had a son named Solomon who had about 300 wives and 500 porcupines. My teacher says he was wise, but that doesn’t sound very wise to me.

After Solomon there were a bunch of major league prophets. One of these was Jonah, who was swallowed by a big whale and then barfed up on the shore.

There were also some minor league prophets, but I guess we don’t have to worry about them.

After the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of The New Testament. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. (I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my Mom is always saying to me, “Close the door! Were you born in a barn?” It would be nice to say, ”As a matter of fact, I was.”)

During His life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans. Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him.

Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But the Democrats and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn’t stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead.

Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution.

7 Comments

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7 Responses to When Words Get In Your Way

  1. LOL! Hilarious. As I get older and my hearing weakens, word recognition sometimes suffers. Yesterday, my brother asked, “How are your aches today?”

    I answered, “I only had one over light with bacon.” We stared at each other until it occurred almost simultaneously that I had misheard him. Then we had a good laugh. Asparagus, indeed.

    Good luck in Portland, Larry! I’m sure you’ll knock the ball out of the park.

  2. Haha this is great, Larry! Soooo funny. Stick it to those SEO guys 🙂

  3. Loved it! Laughed aloud.

    I’ll be in Portland this week too – first time to that conference – really looking forward to it.

    Frank

  4. Three old men are walking together.

    One remarks, “Windy today.”

    Second says “No, it’s Thursday.”

    Third says “Me too. Let’s get a beer.”

    I like the school paper that referred to Magellan circumcising the globe with a 40-foot clipper.

  5. Robert Jones

    I’ve always had a title in mind, “Pride and Produce–A Veggie Tale.”

    Let’s get the ball rolling here. And in doing so, I need to throw out some questions on the subject of context and ask why it supposedly controls everything? Why does a contextually driven story trump a character driven one?

    I believe I have a pretty fair grasp on context. I understand how important, how powerful it is within the realm of story physics. I can see it being an equal partner to with character, but I can’t help feeling these two aspects of story go hand in hand. And if so, how do we determine which one is in the driver’s seat, and which one is the engine? Because one clearly cannot function without the other and go to any place specific.

    I’m going to attempt some examples of both and see if I can answer my own questions, or if Larry needs to give further input once he catches his breath from the workshops.

    Let’s say we just walked into a theater in the middle of a movie. We see a man and woman, both are wearing masks that conceal their identities. They’re in a car being chased by the police. They are armed with automatic weapons, and we soon learn they’ve held up a convenient store where the manager was shot and wounded. The man is arguing with the woman over this. The shooting was an accident, never intended to happen. They aren’t killers. It never would’ve happened if the woman (Mary) didn’t have a gambling problem. Why had she placed such a bet? Hadn’t she lost everything the man ever owned already? How did she think they would pay if she lost? And more importantly, what did she think the loan-shark would do when she didn’t pay? If only the man never got involved with her. Was she worth the risk? Why did he love her so? What set her apart from the hundreds of other woman he’s romanced over the course of his lifetime? Maybe he was suffering from some undiagnosed mental disease. How could he have allowed any of this to happen?

    The police are hailing them to pull over as they plow through a red light and are T-boned by a semi on the passenger’s side.

    Cut to the man being pulled from the wreckage. He’s bloody, but alive. The woman was not so fortunate. Her body is mangled badly, she’s dead, Jim. And what’s the man going to do now?

    Plenty of dramitic tention. Context is certainly the “engine” in this scene, or any scene, for that matter. But are these two people professional gamblers, criminals, what? It was very exciting on a physical action level, but aside from that, there’s nothing invested outside of our curiosity. I’ve said before that curiosity is the driving force, so if context can be derived from dramatic tention, and our curiosity follows, then context is certainly huge. Very much the engine. But let’s look at the other half, the driver of of the plot…who is literally the driver of the car in the movie we came in late on.

    The rescue workers pull the man from the wreckage, wailing his dead lover’s name. The mask is pulled from his face and we find ourselves staring at the bloody visage of Donald Trump. Suddenly the other shoe drops. Context’s other half–character–has just fallen into place. We are emotionally invested now. And all that dramatic conflict and curiosity just became doubled.

    So as far as I can see character and context need to stem from one another, be joined at the hip. Unless I am missing something here, one cannot truly do the job effectively without the other. So does all the hype about which comes first, or sits on the throne, mean anything? Character without dramatic tention is just a portait, or character study of say…a man in a soldier’s uniform who is very brave and dedicated to serving his country. Context without character is like a landscape demolished by the drama of war. But if we mary the two and place the character we have come to love and understand in the middle of that lanscape, suddenly we’ll care about the dangers context is throwing into the dramatic mix.

    And if this is correct, then we need to make that throne at the top a two-seater and stop trying to seperate the two, depending on which side of the fence one’s preferences fall on. Because as I go from writing book to writing book, the line between the two seems to be divided. Strong arguments can be made for both sides, but why is no one saying, “Hey, let’s get these two together and end the war?” Because one without the other, no matter how strong, is only half the battle.

  6. As an occasional fill-in pastor and a full time teacher, I enjoyed this. What we say or write isn’t always what is heard or read.

    I was recently talking to a woman who mentioned a movie called “the Pianist”. From the expression on my face, she quickly realized that I had completely misheard her. (You can all use your imaginations to figure out what I heard.)

  7. Robert Jones

    LOL @Jason…she could have been refering an educational film in an anatomy class. Provided she was studying to become some type of medical professional 🙂

    Seriously though, I think this illustrates the importance of POV. In words as well as sight and opinion. A dozen different people witness the same thing, yet opinions vary. Taken to the next level, as those opinions are discussed, some are now uncertain what they saw, or agree with the strongest, or loudest opinion.

    So many ways to stretch out conflict. So many way a wrong can be justified by a shyster.

    I’m working on something similar in my story. So this post has made me think of several way someone can be misread, or misinterpreted.

    Thanks for sharing!