Issue number 38 October 29, 2001
Quorum of One is intended for adult readers
Notes and minutes from recent meetings of area social clubs, hobby groups and special-interest associations
Tinfoil Reusers Guild
The Tinfoil Reusers Guild is a social and benevolent organization uniting persons who share a passionate interest in preserving, reusing and recycling commodity goods to the vanishing point. At last Thursday's meeting members gave updates on their ongoing projects. Dee Eace's teabag is going into its sixth year and still has "plenty of flavor left". Sehar Wye showed some giftwrapping paper that has been passed back and forth between her sister-in-law and herself for a combined total of twenty-eight Christmases and birthdays and has served to wrap packages ranging in size from a costume jewelry ring to an outdoor barbecue oven. Junior member Petie Tehay shared his secrets for restoring chewing gum flavor and showed slides of his collection of vintage wads dating back to 1994. Chai Essayen passed around a plastic yogurt tub that she inherited from her grandmother and that still has the original lid. She is currently using the container as a receptacle for her collection of mid-20th century deep-fat frying grease. "I know some of the bacon drippings are from before 1978," reports Essayen, "because that's when we moved and I remember bringing them with us in a coffee can." Next month's meeting will be a tea luncheon at the Eace's house.
The meeting of the "And Etcetera" Chapter of the National Order of Language Butchers was called to order at 7:30 pm on Thursday night at the home of Treasurer Dia-May Isle. First came the recitation of the club's pledge:
"What's the diff?
I mean really: If
You use bad grammar
And mumble and stammer
And haw and hem
Through a throatful of phlegm,
People still seem
To know what you mean.
More or less,
Or at least I guess,
Pretty much, you know?
So, like, hey, whoa!
No reason to flip
On some high-horse trip
Just for some little
Goof, error or piddle-
ing small violation
Or syntax, declension
Conjugation, rhyme or scansion!
Like, hey, I dunno,
For me, why should we go
Bust our butts to talk right
When it possibly might
Not really be such
A big deal to make much
Or whatever. . . "
Several new resolutions were passed. Members were urged to write to dictionary editors asking to have the words "irregardless", "fourple" and "overexaggerate" accepted as standard English, drop the first "C" in "arctic", recognize the pronunciations "pres-tee-gious" and "mis-chee-vee-ous" and add a new definition of "reticent" allowing its use as a synonym for "hesitant". Emmy Ayan of the Junior Chapter gave a report on her recent trip to Washington D.C., where the National Chapter presented her with a special award for her successful campaign to eradicate the use of the verb "said" at all local area high schools.
The evening's special guest was sportswriter Oatie Eatty, who gave a talk entitled "Buzzwords, Ad Slogans and TV Catch Phrases: How to Make Them 90% of Everything You Say". A panel discussion was then held on "Possible Plurals of 'Data', 'Media' and 'Criteria'". The Malapropism Committee submitted its list for this month's Vocabulary-Shrinking Exercise, including the terms "duck tape", "notary republic", "unthaw" and "prostrate gland". At the end of the meeting members signed an open letter to President G.W. Bush congratulating him on his pronunciation of "nuclear".
Combover Codgers Club
The Combover Codgers met last Thursday on the top floor of the Longshornman's Hall. Presentations were given entitled "Make 'Em Count: 12 Tasteful Hairstyles Using 50 Strands or Less", "Sympathetic Barbers of the Greater Quad-County Area", "Technology to the Rescue: New, Super-Powerful, Hurricane-Tested Hair Gels, Sprays and Creams", and "How to Avoid Ever Seeing Your Own Reflection from a Side or Top View". Plans were made for the club's annual dinner dance with the Home Henna and Peroxide Auxiliary.
Obnoxious Performing Arts Pantomimers
OPAP is open to everyone, performing artist or not, who is sufficiently gullible or cretinous to think that other people find them genuinely cool when they mime playing a musical instrument. The club also welcomes artists of any discipline who can't seem to stifle their urge to behave in such a way as to virtually scream to everyone around them, "I'm a Dancer!" or "I'm a Pianist!" or whatever. At the last meeting, various subcommittees gave status reports on their recent projects. Owen Abie of the Air Guitarists Workshop presented a paper on proper tuning. Ariel Laty of the Air Drums Section gave a demonstration of safety precautions to be observed while walking down a crowded street "playing the drums". ("Limit yourself to two bass drums and a maximum of three floor toms," says Ariel, "and keep cymbal crashes to a minimum.") Ivy Ehar of the Dancers Who Can't Wait in Line at the Bank Without Doing a Few Plies showed how to hail a taxicab with a flying jete. Lastly, Ian O'Dubb of the Classical Pianists Who Can't Resist Fingering Difficult Passages on Tabletops shared tips for looking studiously distracted as though any worldly, non-artistic thought is such an unbearable burden.
The special guest speaker at next month's meeting will be a nationally-known Midwestern writer and radio personality who will explain how he has managed to convince everyone in his entourage that he is "constantly writing in his mind" and that therefore when you talk to him he has every right to act like a jerk because you are "actually interrupting his writing".
Self-Centered Silent Sulkers Society
The SCSSS is made up of people who have a clear, specific idea of how the universe ought to be and become testy, peevish, irritable and -- most importantly -- uncommunicative whenever it fails to live up to their expectations. According to the bylaws, silent sulking is the only acceptable means of expressing disappointment with friends, family and co-workers. Actually informing the "offender" of what they did wrong is grounds for immediate expulsion from the club.
At the last meeting, role-playing exercises were conducted using situational scenarios like "Don't do what I said, do what I meant", "I didn't say so, but I meant now", "Not that there's any way for you to know this, but you better apologize in about five seconds or I'll never speak to you again" and "Nothing's wrong! (protracted sigh)."
Longtime member Elle Ewan was presented a Lifetime Achievement Award for her many contributions to the art of creative self-inflicted mental suffering. Among the many anecdotes recounted about Elle's exploits over the years was the story about a long road trip she took with her husband in 1994. As nightfall approached on the first day, they passed another car that already had its headlights on, and Mr. Ewan said, "Well I guess I better put my lights on too." Elle clammed up immediately and sustained furious self-righteous silence for the rest of the trip plus seven full weeks after their return before he finally figured out what he had said wrong. (Note for the benefit of non-members: Since the car was partially hers, he should have said "put our lights on." Isn't it incredible how some people only think of themselves?!)
The time and place of the next meeting were not announced. Members who can't figure out where to go and when might as well just drop out.
Fatuous Rationalizers Association
The half-baked self-serving rationalizations were flying at last Thursday's meeting of the FRA. The Tax Cheats Subcommittee has come up with a new list of reasons why they should be allowed to evade income, property, probate and other taxes, including:
- "When I was first starting out and really needed money, the government didn't give me any. So now that I'm pulling down 280 thou a year, why should I give them any?"
- "Some folks say that by evading taxes I'm not paying my fair share for public works, sewers, roads, police and fire protection and so forth. But I once heard about these people somewhere whose house burned down because the fire department didn't get there in time. Why should I pay for a service that doesn't even work?"
- "The government knows that some people are going to pay less than their fair share of taxes, so they artificially raise the tax rates for everybody else. In other words, my taxes have already been paid for."
The Shoplifters and Library Thieves Subcommittee displayed the goods they have pilfered since the last meeting and outlined the reasons why they deserve to have them, including:
- "My mom was probably going to buy me a skirt just like this for my birthday, so there's no reason why I should have to pay for it."
- "At today's
prices you're a fool if you don't steal
something once in a while."
- "When a big wealthy company like Sears raises its prices, it's stealing from the public. So I'm just evening the score."
The FRA is always looking for new members, especially people who are good at nodding and exchanging approving glances with their eyebrows raised, lips closed and lower jaws pulled down. Note that this is one of the few area organizations that actively welcomes smokers.
Tailgaters Union Amends Bylaws
The Tailgaters Union was initially formed to provide encouragement and reinforcement for drivers who fly into an uncontrollable, howling rage whenever they find themselves behind another car that happens to be going slower than they want to go (legal speed limits notwithstanding). Recognizing that encountering another driver who is less experienced, more timid or just plain slower than oneself is the very definition of driving on a public thoroughfare, the members have adopted a new code of conduct. Previously, "Gaters" in good standing were honor-bound to fly off the handle, foam at the mouth, scream, blaspheme and gesticulate obscenely whenever they ended up behind a slower car -- not to mention, of course, risking their lives and those of anyone else in either vehicle by giving vent to their frustration in the form of riding the other car's rear bumper as though next week's winning lottery number were printed on it in Times New Roman 8-point type. Wishing to extend this approach to cover a wider range of situations, the league has amended its bylaws. Members will henceforth be expected to display the same incandescently pissed-off behavior whenever they:
- Cross paths with someone who is less good-looking and/or less well-dressed than they are,
- Find themselves in conversation with someone who is less, or more, intelligent than they are,
- Don't like the weather,
- Have to wait longer than they feel like for restaurant service, checks to come in the mail, Christmas, etc.
This announcement serves as a warning to the public. Members of the Tailgaters Union can be identified in traffic by a sticker on their front bumpers bearing the legend "Elohs Satie Vom". As one member explained, 'I think it's Latin for 'Excuse me'."
New Area Club to Form
A local chapter of the Fellowship of Misplaced Earnestness is being founded to unite several seemingly disparate and sometimes inimical special-interest groups, including:
- People who have become estranged from their own immediate families due to repeated shouting matches about political issues.
- People who block crowded supermarket checkout lanes to complain to a minimum-wage clerk who's quitting at the end of the week anyway about what they find offensive in the TV ads for a product on sale somewhere in the store.
- People who consider any foreigner to be a spokesperson for his or her country's policies.
- People who stop strangers on the street to tell them that they should stop smoking, boycott Nike, go on a diet, etc.
- People who refuse to avail themselves of some modern convenience or conveniences, apparently chosen at random, on the grounds that not everyone in the world has access to it (them) yet.
- People who expect any social gathering to suspend all other conversation and activity in order to share in their anguish over some dire (real or perceived) situation on the other side of the globe.
- People who won't get out of a cab until they have converted the driver to socialism, vegetarianism, Buddhism, etc.
Interested potential members are urged to attend an organizational meeting to be held next Thursday at 6:00 pm in the basement of the Unitarian Church.
Ball Game Cancelled
The Knee-Jerk Aggressiveness League has announced the cancellation of its annual fastpitch hardball game with the Always Right-Never Wrong Alliance due to an inability to agree on a date. Or place. Or starting time. Or batting order. Or umpire. Or rain date. Or who should supply the ball. Or who should sing the national anthem. Or whether to allow cheering. Or where each team's supporters should sit in the stands. Or where they should park in the parking lot. Or where to go for drinks afterward. Or what the original argument was about in the first place. Or whose fault it is that the plans for a simple friendly game of baseball have degenerated into a never-ending cycle of petty bickering. Or who's been bending over backwards since the very beginning to work this thing out in a reasonable manner. Or who's always trying to blame the other side for everything. Or who can shove it up their ass. . .
¨©2001 by David Jaggard