Thursday, March 3, 2011

In quest to mark Grammar Day, words don't fail them

A whimsical foray into the creation of the most majestically sublime press release a gaggle of lexicographers ever perpetrated.

In the corporate offices of Merriam-Webster Dictionary, President W. Wordsworth Webster is gathering his workers into the boardroom for an important meeting. Topic: National Grammar Day. Webster wears a pair of khaki pants and a T-shirt that reads, “To infinitives, and beyond!”

“OK, folks, it’s almost National Grammar Day, and seeing that we are the go-to book for logophiles, I think the first thing we need to do is send out a press release stating that we will be celebrating on Friday, March 4. I want this press release to be a collaborative process. Thoughts?”

“I, for one, think the press release needs to be clear, concise, well-written and reflective of the abject seriousness of what we do here,” said Angela Adjective.
Connie Conjunction broke in, “I do agree that it needs to be done, but we need to put a lot of thought into it before we go off half-cocked and make a mess of things while trying to get it done quickly. “

Ellie Ellipses began, “We do need to be the first to announce our celebration, however, seeing that …”

Silence prevailed as everyone looked toward Ellie, waiting for her to finish. As usual, however, she just drifted off.

Kurt Capital took over, “WE NEED TO BE SURE THAT ALL OF OUR CAPITALIZATION IS CORRECT. WE ARE, AFTER ALL, THE EXPERTS ON SAID SUBJECT.”

“Why are you yelling at us Kurt?” asked Marty McQuestion.

“I’M NOT YELLING. I’M JUST BEING MYSELF.”

“Besides, why are we doing this press release?” asked McQuestion. “Do we really want people to know that we exist? Are we sure we want the lower peons of the world to have our address? The very same people who can’t get ‘there,’ ‘their,’ and ‘they’re’ correct?”

“OK, I wasn’t going to tell you this way, but we either get on board or we’ll end up with a whole lotta downsizing,” Eugene Euphemism added, with a bang of his fist on the board room table.

“I think we need to start by naming the day ourselves, giving it a certain over-the-top moniker that will draw the proper attention,” Harry Hyperbole began, getting that dreamy, creative look in his eyes. “How about National Grammarcopolis Day? Or Grammarpalooza?

“Wait—how about Supergrammarfragilisticexpialidocious?” continued Harry Hyperbole. “It will be the most amazing day of the year.”

Ira Irony chuckled in the corner. “Wouldn’t it be amusing if the release went out, and we spelled Grammarpalooza wrong? Oh, the irony of it all.”

“We’re grinding here, people,” said Eulalie Understatement.

“Really? Ya think?” Sarah Sarcasm chimed in, rolling her eyes.

“Come on folks. We need to work together like a well-oiled machine,” said Susie Simile. “Honestly, so far, writing this press release with you yahoos is like swimming upstream without a paddle. Let’s be honest here: We don’t work well together. Each of us thinks his work is way more important than the others’. It’s like the 1,000-pound gorilla in the room.”

“Oh, I don’t ‘think’; I KNOW, my role is more important!” said Xavier Exclamation. “Think about it! Where would you be without me!?! Perish the thought! You’d be stuck sending out boring press releases with ho-hum news items. But with me you get excitement! You get to exclaim the news, not just report the news! I’m amazing!!! Did you see that? A triple exclamation point? I know! That’s how cool I am!!!”

Al Alliteration cut Xavier off: “Xavier, enough! How can’t you see that you’re haranguing is causing headaches, heartburn and horrendous hair loss?”

A.F. Acronym, MBA, Ph.D., interrupted: “Let me pull this together for you all, especially since I have more letters after my name than anyone else in this room. Ahem. What we need is a plan. Let’s find out what the AP has already picked up on this day, and get on this PDQ. I will set up a timeline ASAP with a deadline TBA. Until then, let’s just IM each other with ideas. K?”

“You know, on second thought,” Webster piped up. “I’m going to HTOOMO.”

Looks of confusion circled the table until A.F. Acronym, crestfallen, explained, “He’s going to handle this one on his own. TTFN.” With that, he left the room abruptly.

“Well! I never!” Xavier Exclamation exclaimed as he energetically exited the room.

Harry Hyperbole left the room mumbling, “But I really like Grammarpalooza.”

“Nice, boss,” Sarah Sarcasm said as she passed Webster. “REALLY nice. So glad we had this time together.”

Kurt Capital yelled, I mean said, “JUST CALL ME IF YOU NEED ME.”

Webster walked to his office, closed the door and opened a new document.

Subject: National Grammar Day

For immediate release: March 4, 2011

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary staff wishes you a very Happy National Grammar Day.

Period.

“Thank goodness for periods,” he mumbled. “I thought that would never end.”

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