01 May 2005

The pen is mightier than the sword

An unrelated image serving merely to send waves of calm over me.

I can’t think off the cuff well, I have to prepare. If I don’t I get beaten every time. So my approach to wordplay is 'cover every angle.' My previous posts have hinted at a difficult working relationship. Here we go then the big word fight I thought I would never win, anger and hate with words and language.


I settled my quiver full of adjectives on the ground before me. Each had been hand-picked from ‘Roget.’ Gripping one with forefinger and thumb I placed it in the bow of my noun. I let it loose and quickly reloaded. Her response was a verbal volley of stinging barbs. Ducking instinctively I heard the angry words rush over me, felt their wind. Hers seemed so well chosen, with the right emphasis and deadly accurate.

I patted my jeans, sure I had some reserve adverbs in my back pocket, hell where did I put them? Ah, they were up my sleeve. Would I have time to weave them around suitable verbs? The squeaking stretch of her catapult heralded another attack. I winced as a tennis ball sized insult took skin off my forehead. Wiping away the blood and fighting back tears of anger I threw a limp poetic phrase at her. It fell yards short and she roared laughter of disdain.

My puny ammunition was running out. I tried a bitter-sweet oxymoron which failed to ignite. Her almighty alliteration angled at me without warning. Now I was gravely wounded. I reached for my last palindrome in an attempt to confuse her but she brushed it off like so much waffle.

‘Pretentious arsehole,’ I heard her say as she pulled the pin on a fully-formed argument the shape of a grenade. It went off in my face tearing flesh and leaving holes. Moving in she tried to deeply crack my head with a split infinitive. I rolled over at the last minute and retorted with a gentle couplet. What had seemed so potent the night before now appeared lame.

She was gathering her remaining arsenal when suddenly I remembered sarcasm, that thunderous sledgehammer which pulverises simple, rational thought. It had been by my side all along and now I held its woody shaft a degree of confidence returned. She had had this coming for a long time and the heavy swing felt oh so very good as I smacked it into my palm in preparation then screamed:

“You have such a pretty face, how unfortunate that the whole illusion of beauty is shattered when you open your mouth!” The fifteen pound lump crunched into her skull and she fell dead at a stroke. I nodded slowly as I watched the remnants of her flimsy vocabulary scattering in the wind.

“I am one of those melodramatic fools
Neurotic to the bone no doubt about it.”

Green Day – Basket Case

15 comments:

finnegan said...

Ooo, that last line will come back to haunt you. Women seem to always win these things in the end.

My wife can assault me in 3 languages.

Perfect Virgo said...

Not my wife F. Thankfully it refers to the woman who is no longer my boss. I will never have to see her or receive her vitriol again, phew!

4005 N 24th said...

Your preparatory interaction is wonderful. I might offer another weapon to be added to your quiver were I to coach you for the event. It is called flattery. To make my point here is a wonderful poem written by Mary Howitt in 1821 called 'The Spider and The Fly'......

Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly,
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to shew when you are there."
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin,
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again, who sleep upon your bed!"

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, " Dear friend what can I do,
To prove the warm affection I 've always felt for you?
I have within my pantry, good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome -- will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly, "kind Sir, that cannot be,
I've heard what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see!"

"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you're witty and you're wise,
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I've a little looking-glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you 're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day."

The Spider turned him round about, and went into his den,
For well he knew the silly Fly would soon come back again:
So he wove a subtle web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready, to dine upon the Fly.
Then he came out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
"Come hither, hither, pretty Fly, with the pearl and silver wing;
Your robes are green and purple -- there's a crest upon your head;
Your eyes are like the diamond bright, but mine are dull as lead!"

Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily, flattering words, came slowly flitting by;
With buzzing wings she hung aloft, then near and nearer drew,
Thinking only of her brilliant eyes, and green and purple hue --
Thinking only of her crested head -- poor foolish thing! At last,
Up jumped the cunning Spider, and fiercely held her fast.
He dragged her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour -- but she ne'er came out again!

And now dear little children, who may this story read,
To idle, silly flattering words, I pray you ne'er give heed:
Unto an evil counsellor, close heart and ear and eye,
And take a lesson from this tale, of the Spider and the Fly.

Denis from Tacoma.

Perfect Virgo said...

Thanks for the poem Denis, 'flattery will get you everywhere' they say. "she ne'er came out again!" Simple yet chilling that.

Mere Existence said...

When a woman gets mouthy, you make subtle references to her being a sexual object; it's their greatest power in arguments, but plainly stated, it's their greatest weakness.

The Flea said...

Virgo, I love it. Have you ever heard of the famed exchange between (I believe) Lady Astor and Winston Churchill?

LADY ASTOR:
"Sir, you are drunk!"

CHURCHILL:
"Yes, and you are ugly. But tomorrow morning I will be sober."

Perfect Virgo said...

ME - you cut straight to the chase don't you! I like that directness, perhaps I'm too circumspect.

Sleeping the way to the top does leave the sleeper with an achilles heel.

Flea - now that is a scathing put-down line! It's the implied next line that is so powerful.

You know the old rhyme:
'Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But your words will never harm me."
Well I disagree with that. I firmly believe that well-chosen words can deliver a crushing blow. You might tell from my post I have immense respect for the power of language.

doughgirl said...

Well done perfect:)

I have a beautiful 19 yr old sister that that line works well for. Its nothing but bad language and what not, with every word she speaks she disgraces herself!!

Jen said...

I've also heard it said like this:

Sticks and stones may break your bones,
but words can tear your heart out.

Perfect Virgo said...

DG - isn't language both beautiful and ugly. On balance I prefer beauty.

Jen - that proves my point then. I even think it makes more sense that way. (Tearing the heart out, yes - now I feel amid broken heart surgery without anaesthetic...)

Wardo said...

Nobody noticed the sexual underpinnings of this story.

Sir, I "smack" my "wooden shaft into my hand" all the time too, and I daresay I am tempted to hit a woman in the face with it.

Because of the incredible size...I am certain the consequences of doing that would be...messy. Like yours, it's a 15-pounder.

-A

Perfect Virgo said...

Argus - Mere Existence hinted at it I think but I didn't see it myself until later. Attraction is of course not necessarily a pre-requisite for sex and believe me I was not attracted to this young, sour vindictive sow!

RuKsaK said...

There is nothing more incisive than a retort which takes care of body and mind in a single swing of the tongue.

Well bloody done!

Perfect Virgo said...

Yes Ruk, well put. If you could hear her 'flimsy vocabulary' you'd shake your head in resignation that a giant Corporate Player would hoist such ill-educated trash to undeserved dizzy heights.

I console myself in the intimate knowledge that although I'm no scholar, those arses can never be my intellectual equal. Can I say that? Yes I think I can.

Brian said...

"that a giant Corporate Player would hoist such ill-educated trash to undeserved dizzy heights"

Not sure of the business name but it is the theory of "failing upwards". It is truly scary how often that happens.