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One From Column A...
by "The Real A"

February 1, 1999 - #71

Well, dear readers, I am telling you here and now that this will be an abbreviated column. Yes, you heard it here, an abbreviated column. Does that mean it should look like this: an abbr. clmn? No, that simply will not do. Aren't abbreviations annoying? By the time you figure out what the abbreviation is, you could have typed the word three times. But, nonetheless, this will be an abbreviated column for the simple reason that I simply don't have time to write my usual long-winded, endless column because shortly I will be on a plane to New York. I could write a nice long column on the plane if I had myself a handy-dandy fancy-shmancy laptop computer. But I don't have a handy dandy fancy shmancy laptop computer, I only have a lap. I don't even have a top. What the hell good am I anyway? Mind you, I like having a lap. My lap is my pal, which, of course, is "lap" spelled backwards. But, upon my return from New York I will write an extra special long column with no abbreviations whatsoever.

I had to go to the post office today to get a postal money order for some butt cheek on eBay, because said butt cheek only wanted a postal money order, a bank money order or convenience store money order was not good enough for this particular butt cheek. So, off I went to said post office to get said postal money order. The problem with going to my particular post office is that it seems to be the most popular post office in the nation. Everyone goes to this post office, because apparently no other post office will do. Hence, the line is always very very long. Hence, I had to wait in this very very long line for a very very long time. Is there anything worse than waiting in a very very long line for a very very long time, especially at the post office? And, invariably I end up standing behind some smelly, gross thing. For example, today I ended up standing behind someone for whom bathing must be an annual event and unfortunately I missed that event by about nine months. What an odor (rodo spelled backwards). Since I'm writing an abbreviated column, may I just use the initials "P.U."? What does P.U. stand for? "Pretty ugly"? "Pungent urine"? Whatever it stands for, this person gave it new meaning. Standing in back of this person was like being next to a three-week old roast beef sandwich. Have I made my point? Have I been clear? If not, let me just say that the air was heavy with the heady aroma of a large fetid wart. Wasn't that poetic?

Before I leave it at that, let me just say that as I was writing the paragraph above, it began to smell. This is known as The Pungent Paragraph and can be found in the book The Smell of Grammar by noted gramalogist Dr. Heinrich Semicolon. Yes, more little-known facts to be gleaned here at Column A.

Here is another little known fact: There is no diet version of Canada Dry ginger ale. Were you aware of that, dear readers? Did you need to be aware of that, dear readers? I feel you did, and I feel we are all better for knowing it.

By the way, I always smell good. I have been told by some that I have particularly good smelling skin, especially on my arms. Isn't that an interesting little known fact? People are always coming up to me and asking to smell my arms. I always say yes, because who am I to deny people the smell of my arms? Of course that brings up the interesting topic of the nose. The proboscis. The thing that we smell through. Isn't the nose an intriguing thing? There it sits, like so much fish, with holes called nostrils for some obscure reason that no one has bothered to tell me, and it is through these nostrils in which the smells get to our olfactory glands. Wouldn't it be funny if we saw through our nose and smelled through our eyes? If we heard through our mouth and spoke through our ears? Wouldn't that be a fine kettle of what is it, fish? Why, that would disrupt our very concept of How Things Work. Wouldn't it be unnerving if someone came up to you, looked at you with their nose, and said, "Hello" through their ear? Wouldn't that just give you a case of the willies?

Well, dear readers, since this is an abbreviated column, I'd better abbreviate this section, because frankly it's starting to feel like the new Disney musical, Elaborate Lives: In need of a complete overhaul. But enough about me.

The Waning of the Day

Yes, you heard it here, dear readers, the day is waning. "The day is waning"? Isn't that what Elmer Fudd would say if it was a rainy day? Well, this was an interesting section, wasn't it? I just thought it was my duty to let you know that the day was waning, because knowledge is power. What this waning day means, of course, is that night is falling. Night seems to have an equilibrium problem. It's always falling. And now, I must go see Rent. Somehow I have managed to miss this show, so I'm looking forward to finally catching up with it. I'll have a full report for you in the next column, along with activity photos from New York. After seeing Rent I shall go home and sleep. In the morning with the breaking of the dawn I shall arise. Doesn't the dawn get tired of breaking? I know I would. Having arisin (is that a word? Perhaps it should be "having arosen"? No, that sounds like you've just had sex with a Jewish person) I shall take my one carry on bag, go to the airport and fly off to New York. I shall arrive in New York after the day has waned and the night has fallen. Of course, I shall immediately go to Joe Allen's where I will not be sitting at table 20 because there are too too many people in my party.

Biography, Letters, and Trivia (The BLT Section)

Obviously, with the waning of the day and the falling of the night, I have no time to do The Real A: A Life section, even though Miss Meryle Secrest is now determined to know more about "those bits". Her appetite has been whetted, those bits-wise, and a Meryle Secrest with a whet appetite cannot be assuaged. I will answer all your letters next week, and also provide the answer to last week's trivia question, too, even though lots of you have already given good answers.

Send all email to me at or use the form below...



Questions? Comments?

Well, this has been an abbreviated column, hasn't it? Just as you started reading it, it's over. We can't even call this a column. No, we'll have to call this a columnlet, or perhaps, just a col. Oh, I know one thing I forgot to mention: Stephen Sondheim. Whew, that was a close call. We couldn't go a whole column, or columnlet, or col without mentioning my close personal friend, Mr. Stephen Sondheim. There, we've mentioned him twice, and frankly that's enough. Perhaps Mr. Mark Bakalor will put up an activity photo here. Perhaps it will be of a plane flying to New York. Wouldn't that be spiffy? Of course, whether he has such an activity photo is iffy. But if he does, then it would be spiffy, not iffy. And spiffy is far more preferable than iffy. So, let's hope that it's not iffy, which will result in a spiffy photo that can go up in a jiffy.

What a wonderful activity photo of a plane flying to New York. You can't see it from here, but there I am sitting eating an omelet with Spanish sauce. It is, of course, a heinous (heinous, do you hear me?) omelet (with Spanish sauce). Perhaps if it had Armenian Sauce it would taste better. Remember, dear readers, next week you get an especially long brand spanking-new handy-dandy column with no abbreviation, fillers, or additives.

Until next week, I am, as I ever was, and ever shall be...

Yours, yours, yours, yours, yours.

The Real A

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