.The Last WORD
The time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of other things. . . .
Another season ends, dear friends,
and the WORD’s fat lady sings.
Veteran WORDwatchers know what this means: The rusty van with the chronic muffler problem from St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose pulled up outside in the wee hours this morning to collect the sanitarium’s most recidivist inmate.
There was no worry that the meat wagon’s backfires might alert the target: After this year of declining literacy and wisdom, rampant punditry and the most ridiculous presidential primary season since the Demos’ Seven Dwarfs, the WORD was snoring off a snootful of hyperbolic “wisdom” on the couch, and was even less responsive than usual.
Few mourned (or noticed, really) as the WORD was tenderly but tightly wrapped in a cozy de-obfuscation Snuggi for the 900-mile trip to St. Mumbles. An intensive regimen of weight loss, deconjugation and heavy cerebral editorial sanding is planned for the moribund WORDweinie. After his 16th season of spreading crap far and wide, he’s tired. Indeed, before passing out in front of “Jeopardy!” he was mumbling this over and over:
Under the sod and under the trees
Lies the body of Edward Pease.
He is not here, there's only the pod:
Pease shelled out and went to God.
—Nantucket gravestone, 1882 (only very lightly edited)
But that’s enuff, gentle and patient readers, as we follow another crop of graduates out the door and close down for the summer. The redwoods, the hammock and a promising salmon season beckon, and a lot of foggy walks and yogatime are needed.
As Karl Marx, the famous philosopher-comic, said, “Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.” So this isn't a Last WORD—Lord knows there are always more!—but just the end of this episode. Look for the WORD’s escape from St. Mumbles in August, once again to afflict—merrily, gaily, happily—an unsuspecting world.
Per tradition, however, we like to end on the same note, invoking Stanley Walker, a very wise man:
“What makes a good newspaperman? The answer is easy. He knows everything. He is aware not only of what goes on in the world today, but his brain is a repository of the accumulated wisdom of the ages. He is not only handsome, but he has the physical strength which enables him to perform great feats of energy. He can go for nights on end without sleep. He dresses well and talks with charm. Men admire him; women adore him; tycoons and statesmen are willing to share their secrets with him. He hates lies and meanness and sham, but he keeps his temper. He is loyal to his paper and to what he looks upon as the profession; whether it is a profession, or merely a craft, he resents attempts to debate it. When he dies, a lot of people are sorry, and some of them remember him for several days.”
—Stanley Walker, newspaperman, The New York Herald-Tribune, 1924
• Editorial Comment: —30— Thank gawd.
• Yesterday’s WORD: Mockingbird Did you miss yesterday’s WORDs from Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, about reading? A good walk-off for the summer reading season. Click here.
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