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Inspirational Reads


June 14, 2010

In addition to her non sequiturs, updates on the rainfall in places in Indiana that I could care less about, and complete lack of understanding of my likes, dislikes and personality, my mother also likes sending on mass forwards through the email. And they are always oh-so-delightfully hilarious. Not just knee-slappingly funny, but wet-your-pants, I-can't-breathe-make-it-stop Jeff Dunham funny.

As was the case on Friday, when my mother sent me this gem titled "Oxymorons", which was a series of questions that were supposed to make you laugh. More importantly, none of them are oxymora (the proper plural of oxymoron), which are contradicting terms that are somewhat amusing if one thinks about it long enough.

With that in mind, let's check on the funny that she decided to bless my life with:

1. Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?

Yes, otherwise it wouldn't pull dirt out of your carpet, you filthy hippy.

2. Why is the third hand on the watch called the second hand?

Because the "second" is the name given to a division of time that is 1/60th of a minute, the minute being the name given to the division of time that is 1/60th of an hour. Therefore, a "second hand", in this case, counts and records seconds, just as the minute and hour hands count their designated sweeps of time.

3. If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?

There have been several instances across various dictionaries of misspelled words, but since the dictionaries go through rigorous editorial review before final printings, usually misspellings and grammatical errors are caught. If they aren't, a correction is made in a subsequent edition.

Also, wouldn't this question have been at least somewhat clever if something had been mispelled?

4. If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?

Webster didn't write the first dictionary, dickhead. Samuel Johnson did. Maybe you should have paid attention during English class, that way you'd know that, if you string words together, you can write things like "clauses" and "sentences" and "definitions for words in the dictionary".

As an aside, Webster did write the first American dictionary. He wrote it as a way of thumbing his nose at the British, whom we had just defeated to gain our independence. He's the one who is to blame for dropping the 'u's out of most English spellings, such as labour and colour so that they'd look less British.

5. Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?

If something isn't working properly, we sometimes resort to smacking the instrument or machine in order to get it to work for us (but mostly to vent our frustrations). This is giving it "a whack". If something is "out of whack", then it needs a smack upside the the author of this particular forwarding.

6. Why does "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing?

"Slow down" implies a natural deceleration, whereas "slow up" implies a more rapid braking of speed. Also, these sayings rose from regional dialects which, as the population of America has shifted and communications have improved, has caused a mixing of otherwise isolated phrases and speech patterns. This also explains why the girl at my favorite restaurant speaks with the most outrageously offensive New Jersey accent.

7. Why does "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing?

"Fat chance" means there is no chance. "Slim chance" implies that, while the odds are against you, there is still a chance for you to achieve your goal. Which would you rather hear when you're trying to bang that chick at the end of the bar? Fat chance or that your chances are slim? I'll go with slim chances over no chance at all.

8. Why do "tug" boats push their barges?

While tug boats do sometimes push their vessels around, by-and-large most tugs still pull barges and large vessels through the water.

9. Why do we sing "Take me out to the ball game" when we are already there?

Tradition. Besides, how many other songs about baseball that don't involve John Fogerty are there?

10. Why are they called "stands" when they are made for sitting?

Because the people who originally were "seated" there were forced to stand during the entire match.

11. Why is it called "after dark" when it really is "after light"?

Because it's a shortened form of "after darkness falls".

12. Doesn't "expecting the unexpected" make the unexpected expected?

No, because you're still anticipating something to happen which you are exactly sure of. You know something will happen, but you just don't know what. Therefore, it's still unexpected.

13. Why are a "wise man" and a "wise guy" opposites?

Because "guy" is a somewhat derogatory word, based on Guy Fawkes' fucked up attempt to blow up Parliament. Wise men come up with sage advice; wise guys try to detonate government buildings.

14. Why do "overlook" and "oversee" mean opposite things?

You can look at something, but not truly see it. Therefore, if you overlook something, you are missing it entirely. The word "see" implies a more specific examination, therefore if you are overseeing something, you are focusing your attentions on getting the job done.

15. Why is "phonics" not spelled the way it sounds?

Because the Greeks, from whom we take the word "phonics", didn't have an F as we know it. Their letter that made the /f/ sound was phi. When the Romans adopted various Etruscan letters, they absorbed the letter that would become F and assigned it the sound that phi made (as the Etruscan F made a sort of /w/ sound that the Romans used upsilon for).

The true irony in the question is that the Greeks didn't use C in their words and opted for the use of kappa, which should make the spelling of "phonics" as "phoniks". Apparently, the dumbass who wrote these questions overlooked that tiny little detail. Perhaps he should have had someone oversee his work.

16. If work is so terrific, why do they have to pay you to do it?

I think I'm beginning to see the "moron" part of the title here. In order to achieve work, some bit of force has to be applied to the system. In most cases, work is repaid with the desired or intended change on the system. In others, its reward is monetary.

17. If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?

Anyone who is witness to any of the marvelous mishaps and dramas that unfold in the world around us on a daily basis is the audience. All the world is a stage does not imply that the performance is taking place upon a designated site, but that it is happening in the world around us.

Again, the author of these questions must have failed English class and missed out on metaphor day. Also, you'll note, "metaphor" is a Greek spelling.

18. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

Love is blind. Sexual desire is visual in nature, especially for men. A feeling of sexiness is also important for women, which is why lingerie is so popular. I'm guessing, in addition to being a dickhead, the author is uxoriated, sexless or a Dolores Umbridge-like troll of a woman.

19. If you are cross-eyed and have dyslexia, can you read all right?

No, presumably you'd still read left-to-right. Dickhead. This question is so obnoxious and offensive, it begs to have disdain and insults thrown upon it. And, no, you would still have dyslexia and you would still have the unfortunate luck to have your eyes focus on a point not far before your nose. Way to be compassionate for others, assface.

20. Why is bra singular and panties plural?

Is not a brassiere a single piece of clothing? Panties is a shortened form of "pantaloons" (via pants) which comes from Pantaloun, who is a silly old man character who wore tight pants over very skinny legs. Pantaloons then became any sort of tight trousers in the same vein as Pantaloun's pants, and the pluralized form has stuck ever since.

21. Why do you press harder on the buttons of a remote control when you know the batteries are dead?

For the same reason that you whack an instrument that isn't giving you the result you want, mostly out of frustration. We've also been taught that if you do something harder, you will get the result faster, so pushing harder will, apparently, get the remote to work that much faster.

22. Why do we put suits in garment bags and garments in a suitcase?

Because before suitcases were used, most clothing was stored in bags. Therefore, garments would be stored in garment bags. The suitcase comes from the idea that men would carry a briefcase with them to work. As that was a smaller case, therefore "brief", a larger case would need a bigger name, therefore a suit.

23. How come abbreviated is such a long word?

Because it comes from Latin, "ab" meaning "from, of" and "breve" which means "short" (*ahem*). The ending is used to denote an action, which in the case of "abbreviated" means it happened in the past.

Abbreviation's abbreviation is abb.

24. Why do we wash bath towels? Aren't we clean when we use them?

You are clean when you use them. Unfortunately, the towels themselves are not. Tiny spores of mildew and bacteria live on the towels' surfaces and when they are used, the mildew and bacteria take up the water and start growing. We wash the towels to get the stuff that lives on them off.

Of course, after we toss them in the dryer and it cools off, the mildew and bacteria come right back.

25. Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

Because if it's still wet in the bottle, it's not completely adhesive. Once it dries though, it's stuck--whether it's in the bottle or not.

26. Why do they call it a TV set when you only have one?

Because there are a lot of component parts in a television. Also, "set" has the most meanings of any word in the English language, so it doesn't just imply that you've brought together a collection of things. It could almost mean that "this is where you've placed it".

27. Christmas - What other time of the year do you sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of your socks?

Christmas - What other time of the year do we celebrate the most famous failure of birth control in the history of humanity?

28. Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?

Because "driveways" used to take us from the street to our garages, thus it was a way to drive. As garages became more full shit, it became impractical to park your car in them (apparently) and so now we park on our driveways. "Parkways" used to imply that the road went through pastoral settings, hence "parks".

There was, of course, at the end of the mass forwarding something about how God loves us and wants us to be happy and some other feel-good bullshit about friendship. I skipped that here because, if anything is oxymoronical, it's defining Christmas as eating candy from a sock in front of a dead tree and then talking about how buddy-buddy chumly we are with God.

Oh, wait. My mistake. That's not oxymoronical, it's just moronical, like the rest of the forwarding.


Adam L. said...

And now every time I hear an oxymoron/pun I'm going to say "that's stupid".

Thanks? ::: shrug :::

Bev said...

Ah yes, a chain email taken from Alanis Morrissette's "Ironic" vein.

Way to take the fun out of your dear old ma's email, Jenksy. Poor gal, just trying to make you think since you CLEARLY hate thinking about stuff like oxymora.

Btw, my favorite chain emails always include a footnote about how I'm going to hell and accidents will befall all of my loved ones if I don't forward this tripe to at least 10 other people.

words...words...words... said...

Are you by any chance adopted? I'm pretty sure we have the same mom.

Eric said...

Otis Elevators never let you down.

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

I think that this blog post should BECOME A chain email, one I will send to every single person who EVER forwards me ANYTHING at all.

Thank you for this. You had me in stitches!

red said...

Wow. These are really bad.

Scope said...

I am now feeling "gruntled" which must mean "content", right?

SkylersDad said...

The government should step in and stop email chains, I mean what the hell am I paying taxes for anyway?

Frank said...

I think I've received that same email at least a dozen times from my grandma over the last decade or so that she's had internet access. She also sends me lots of political cartoons, anti-semitic jokes, pyramid schemes, etc.

Who's idea was it to allow the elderly access to a computer?

Scope said...

Skydad - Have you bought your email stamps for this year? If not, send my $25 in the mail, and I'll send you some so that you're covered.

Scope said...

I paid homage (or maybe 'fromage') to you today on my blog.