Friday, May 3, 2013

Another Final WORD

The time has come . . . 

. . .  the Walrus said, to speak of other things. . . .
Another season ends, dear friends, 
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 the Dorm 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 a year as the Dorm Mother in a freshman dorm, to say nothing of the strain of herding another gaggle of students toward sentience and literacy, the WORD can sleep through anything.

Few mourned (or noticed, really) as the WORD was tenderly but tightly wrapped in a cozy de-obfuscation Snuggi for the 900-mile trip west to St. Mumbles. An intensive regimen of weight loss, deconjugation and heavy cerebral editorial sanding is planned for the moribund WORDman. After his 17th season of spreading crap far and wide, he’s tired. Indeed, this May marks a significant milestone, as the WORDman relinquishes his administrative role and follows his darling girl into the Next Phase after 19 years at Utah State. It’s been a good run.

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, Mass., gravestone, 1882 (only very lightly edited)

Enuff, gentle and patient readers. We follow another crop of graduates out the door and close down for the summer. The redwoods, the mighty Toad, 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 don’t take this the 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 wise of city editor Stanley Walker:

“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: Honey, get me rewrite!

Yesterday’s WORD: Did you miss yesterday’s WORDs from word curmudgeon William Safire, with his useful rules for writers? Click here.

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PeezPIX by Ted Pease

Life of Ted

Original PeezPix archival prints, matted at sizes from 5x7" to 16x20" or larger, available for sale: $14 (5x7), $28 (8x12) and up. email Thanks for asking.
(Be)Friend Dr. Ted, Professor of Interesting Stuff

JCOM @ Utah State UniversityThe best little professionally oriented journalism program in Utah. Winner of more 2013 Mark of Excellence Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists than any other university journalism program in the Intermountain West.

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