Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Older I Get

Found this from a very time long ago and didn't realize I was once actually capable of thought, much less this type or amount. I'm just gonna sit here quietly for a moment. Talk among yourselves.

I'm not sure our schools teach English grammar and vocabulary the way they did when I was a slip of a lad growing up in America before Edison invented the light bulb and Al Gore the Internet.

We learned about Walt Whitman, William Shakespeare and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (and the more mature of us knew of Henry Miller and James Joyce), but they were all the stuff of English Literature, and had nothing to do with diagramming a sentence or identifying the parts of speech that comprised a sentence. 

Sentences that asked a question were always interrogatory; statements could also be declamatory and/or expository and, of course, there were exclamatory remarks. Each in its place and in its moment. 

There were nouns, verbs, predicates and objects surrounded by adjectives and adverbs, free-range propositions and grazing gerunds, predatory participles (my old friend, the future pluperfect back when I had more future than regrets) and infinitives, split and otherwise. 

Sister Mary Jean had a diagram question on every English test every Friday and it never had any thing to do with Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, James Joyce's Dubliners or (Lord, literally, forbid) Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer.

When we left one of the least charitable of the Sisters of Charity's eighth grade, we had the souls of first shift torque-wrench turners at the Ford Mahwah assembly plant in terms of lyricism, but we could diagram Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in less than two minutes (or three less than it took Abe to deliver it ) while two fourth-period miscreants, sentenced, as penance, to accomplish the same for the remarks delivered by Lincoln's predecessor to the podium, died along the way. 

And if you're keeping track, exactly ten, count 'em! ten, first person plural pronouns appeared and zero singular--by comparison, go here, and grab at random. Sister Mary Jean was right-when we don't have to diagram them, our sentences are filled with worthless and meaningless words for everyone, but most especially and tragically for ourselves.

"Of Life immense in passion pulse and power, 
Cheerful, for freest action form'd under the laws divine 
The Modern Man, I sing." 
-bill kenny

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