Wednesday, August 6, 2008

This just in

“Tonight on Channel 13 news: Man at South Sasquatch house holding police at bay! Now switching to News 13 reporter Cosmo Nerp on the scene, telling us what he’s hearing….”

“Not hearing much officially, Phil. Police saying little, playing their cards very close to their vests. Neighbors talking nervously among themselves. Rumors, speculation running rampant. One rumor making rounds: Man in house holding mysterious weapon, muttering something about ‘present particles’ – Wait, hold it, Phil: Next-door neighbor whispering in my ear.”

“Whispering what, Cosmo?”

“Telling me it’s not ‘present particles’ but ‘present participles.’”

“Present participles? Hm. Phrase ringing a bell. Bringing to mind memories of grammar school, English class, nuns rapping me on wrist with rulers.”

“Phil, another neighbor informing me that you’re getting the right idea!”

“Neighbor identifying himself?”

“Not giving name, but saying he’s living in retirement, not regretting leaving his job as high school English teacher.”

“Retired teacher saying anything else?”

“Telling me about ‘present participle.’ Defining it as something used with the verb ‘to be’ to indicate an action that is incomplete. Giving examples: ‘I am reading.’ ‘I was reading.’ Further explaining that present participles can also be used as adjectives, as in ‘an interesting story.’”

“Fascinating. But man in house making threats, police surrounding house, all owing to grammatical term?”

“Making no sense to me either, Phil, but – holding on! Man in house signaling he’ll be making statement very soon! Starting to speak now! Everyone preparing to listen! Getting our microphones in place! Standing by, cutting to him now!”

“You there! You TV reporters! I can’t take it anymore! Used to be that someone was hit by a car! Or a president was assassinated! Or the World Series will begin Tuesday! Haven't you people ever heard of the past tense? Or the future tense, even! But all these present participles! I can’t take them any more! They’re driving me crazy – hey! Did you hear what I just said? ‘Driving!’ You’ve got me doing it, too! I can’t take it anymore!”

“Phil, man’s holding small box. Opening it. Mysterious light shining from within it! Pulsing! Humming! Getting louder! Resembling some kind of bomb! Indeed, turning out to BE a bomb! Me, running for cover, trying to remember words to Lord’s Prayer, wondering whether this report will make the deadline for this year’s Emmys! Throwing things back to you, Phil!”

“Thanking Cosmo Nerp for that incisive report! WORLD ENDING! And after this break, catching up with the latest ‘American Idol’ loser!”

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