E-mail has now become the source of urban legends and myths. And the senders are not spammers, they are naive friends and family with good intentions. But my e-mail inbox is filling up, like a colony of E. coli on room temperature Canadian beef, (see below) and I’m not laughing.
I received a joke e-mail from a coworker Friday listing “excerpts of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays.” Although these analogies read like the laugh-out-loud writing of some of my former middle students, I began to doubt that these were actually from high school essays when I could find no reference or source in the e-mail. So I searched on Google and found the exact text of the e-mail cited as early as 2003 on several Web sites. Further searching revealed that high school students did not write these analogies. Instead, about half of them appeared in a 1999 Washington Post Style Invitational contest, where they asked readers to submit items in the style of bad student essays.
These analogies are quite a funny collection of sentences and remind me of the fun I had reading my students’ unintentionally funny answers to worksheets and tests. So does it matter that high school students didn’t write them? Probably not any more than maggots in hot grease. (See below).
But then this morning I received a group e-mail from my aunt. She prefaced the text with, “… will our citizenry ever stop being negative when we have so much to be thankful about. Complainers ought to be shipped to live in a Godless society …”
JAY LENO SPEAKS OUT
The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right?
The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3s of the citizenry just ain’t happy and want a change.
This is from an e-mailed article that has been circulating since March, 2007, titled “Jay Leno Hits the Nail on the Head.” The article falsely attributes Tonight Show host Jay Leno as the author of the article that labels the majority of Americans ‘ungrateful, spoiled brats’ for saying they’re unhappy with the current direction of the country. Apart from uttering the words that inspired the final paragraph of this text, Tonight Show host Jay Leno had nothing whatsoever to do with its authorship. The original was written by columnist Craig R. Smith and published in November 2006 on WorldNetDaily.com under the title “Made in the U.S.A.: Spoiled Brats.” Read more.
So do I embarrass my aunt by telling her that the heartfelt e-mail that she sent to family and friends is bogus? Or do I simply delete the group e-mail and do nothing? It is only a harmless joke, right. Jay Leno is used to criticism. His skin is thick, right? Thick as, like, whatever. (See below).
Every year, English teachers from across the USA can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year’s winners:
1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli, and he was room temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife’s infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you’re on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan’s teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River .
18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.