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005 - Very Apropos Series: English

Jack:                “Manny, lest I forget, the list that included the sin of lust was lost last night.”

Manny:             “What?”

Jack:                “What what?”

Manny:             “What’s with the ‘almost identical’ five words?”

Jack:                “Oh, I’m playing English.”

Manny:             “Playing English?”

Jack:                “Yeah.”

Manny:             “There’s no such thing as a game named English. You can’t play English.”

Jack:                “Yes there is, and yes I can.”

Manny:             “Who invented the game of English?”

Jack:                “I did.”

Manny:             “When?”

Jack:                “The other day, in the afternoon.”

Manny:             “Okay, how do you play English?”

Jack:                “There are several variations of the game.”

Manny:             “Fine, tell me a few.”

Jack:                “Well, in one you need to find words that are different by only one letter. For example: last, lest, list, lost, lust; however, you need to make a sentence that makes sense. The more sense the sentence makes, the more points you get.”

Manny:             “Can you give me another example?”

Jack:                “Of course: ‘The cat and the rat chased the fat bat around the mat’ or ‘The bat told the cat to eat the fat rat’ or ‘The rat sat and, while wearing a hat and eating a grain of oat, gave the cat a pat’ and this last sample has six words.’”

Manny:             “Jack, let me ask you something: Do you have a social life?”

Jack:                “I believe so.”

Manny:             “What do you do all day?”

Jack:                “I think of ways to play English.”

Manny:             “Jack, again, there is no such thing as a game of English.”

Jack:                “I’ve just shown you one variation of the game! What do you mean there is no such thing?”

Manny:             “Fine, I stand corrected. Show me another variation.”

Jack:                “In this variation the idea is to find words that are identical but have completely different meanings and pronunciations. For example: “Someone told Job to go to Nice to find a nice job.”

Manny:             “Are there more variations?”

Jack:                “Yes.”

Manny:             “Give me an example.”

Jack:                “In this variation you need to use the same identical word but with different meanings, for example: hot.”

Manny:             “Hot?”

Jack:                “Yes, for example: It was a hot day and the patrolman was looking at a very hot lady standing at the entrance of a building when he received a radio transmission telling him to be on the lookout for a hot car, which was last seen passing by the nuclear plant, near the forbidden ‘hot’ area.”

Manny:             “What?”

Jack:                “The first hot refers to ‘temperature.’ The second means ‘attractive,’ the third ‘stolen’ and the fourth ‘radioactive.’”

Manny:             “I know that Jack, so?”

Jack:                “Well, how come we know which is which?”

Manny:             “The context, Jack, the context.”

Jack:                “Changing topics, shouldn’t we go to see Paul?”

Manny:             “Oh my! You are right. But if we are going to go, I better turn right, right here; right?”

Jack:                “Right.”

Manny:             “What did I say?”

Jack:                “You’ve just started playing the game of English!”


© Jacob A. J. Taylor 2011
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