The left-handed lexicon.

June 12, 2008

Hello faithful readers,

This tasty little nugget found its way on to my desk a while back, and I’ve just been re-reading it, and, since I’m too lazy this morning to organize my own thoughts and opinions, I’ll share this column with you, written by a one Bill Marvel of Conway, New Hampshire. I don’t know anything about this man other than the fact that he is apparently a regular columnist for a daily rag called the Conway Daily Sun. Enjoy!

THE LEFTHANDED LEXICON

by William Marvel

The Conway Daily Sun

Monday, September 18, 2006

Anyone who has studied the human species for a few years should be sufficiently cynical to know Ambrose Bierce and his Devil’s Dictionary. That collection of sage observations served well enough in its day, and it is periodically revived, but it deserves certain additions and revisions. What follows represents a few entries for, shall we say, the definitive addition.

catastrophe, n. 1. In nature, a geological or meteorological event that threatens the survival of entire communities, continents, or of the planet itself. 2. In politics, the revelation of an embarrassing truth that jeopardizes the likelihood of an incumbent’s reelection.

committee, n. A gathering of three or more people for the purpose of collecting their most ridiculous ideas and memorializing them in a fashion that any of the individual members would find mortifying if held personally responsible.

congressman, n. A successful aspirant for both the condition of amnesia and the security of a federal pension, chosen through a contest of telling the most convincing lies.

corporation, n. An officially recognized syndicate in which the members are customarily allowed to enjoy most of the proceeds of criminal activity without suffering any of the consequences.

democracy, n. 1. An oligarchic system, esp. since 2000 A.D., in which a majority of the people within the state believe that they were allowed to participate in making a decision that was preordained by the dominant party’s leadership. 2. A form of government in which decisions are made by a majority of the people within the state (now obsolete).

god, n. A principal character in the mythology of primitive peoples, supposed to possess the power to cure all evils but in most instances notoriously unwilling to exercise that power; despite such inhumane perversity, this character is nonetheless reputed to be entirely benevolent.

insurgent, n. The name given by armed invaders to those who resist their domination.

judge, n. A lawyer who has made substantial contributions to successful gubernatorial candidates, who is rewarded with relief from the danger of malpractice complaints, regardless of the degree of idiocy exhibited from the bench.

law, n. A tradition established to protect the wealthy from injury by others, to secure them rights of private ownership in public property, and to provide them with a vehicle for intimidating and abusing the poor.

lawyer, n. [from Anglo Saxon “liar”]. In modern law, the principle beneficiary of any human tragedy, identifiable by the struggle to suppress a smile at the conclusion of judicial proceedings.

license, n. A certificate of authorization from the state to pursue activities that would otherwise be considered criminal. See lawyer, e.g.

patriot, n. One who boisterously professes to love his own nation, or to hate another, and who insists on the duty of others to take up arms in the protection and expansion of his own wealth.

patriotism, n. A common form of dementia distinguished by an attraction to brightly colored rags and martial music, often used as an excuse for crimes that cannot be explained by more sophisticated varieties of insanity.

police, n. A self-perpetuating organization established to create the illusion of public safety; known for failing to provide timely protection for the citizen who is physically threatened, and for simultaneously advocating against the citizen’s right of self-defense on the grounds that that is the responsibility of the police.

priest, n. One supposed to be a franchised subcontractor of the mythical god (q.v.) whose two main duties involve assuring customers of the affectionate protection available from his principal and explaining his principal’s repeated failure to demonstrate that affectionate protection. In the secular field of actuarial gambling known as insurance, these duties are performed by one called an agent.

property, n. Artificially partitioned portions of the earth, once claimed by kings by virtue of divine right and later conveyed to individuals who, though denying the divine right of kings, still pretend to hold valid title.

recreation, n. In the developed nations, a cornucopia of activities invented to absorb the abundant leisure of non-productive individuals, and to protect them from the danger of thinking about their personal insignificance; unknown in the third world except in the form of the storytelling that ameliorates incessant labor.

revolution, n. An exercise in political purification once deemed natural and morally justified, so viewed now only when directed against governments or heads of state hostile to the current administration, but otherwise criminalized as the most heinous form of heresy against the civil religion.

sentimentality, n. The American substitute for political dialogue.

sheriff, n. The principal law enforcement officer of a county, who in many regions also holds an ex officio position as chief of that county’s criminal element.

welfare, n. 1. A gift that the recipients of congressional campaign contributions give to corporations under the auspices of tax incentives or business subsidies, allegedly for the public good. 2. A humiliating stipend grudgingly dispensed to mothers who have been abused or abandoned by the fathers of their children.

William Carvel lives and lexicogitates in South Conway.

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4 Responses to “The left-handed lexicon.”

  1. Mardé Says:

    Hey, Minds, that Marvel guy is sure a marvel, isn’t he! LOL I love some of those sarcastic and right-on definitions. I always thought the Conway Daily Sun was probably a right wing rag like a lot of these small town rural papers, but they can’t be all that right wing if they publish Marvel’s marvelous left-handed articles! LOL

  2. Aileni Noyle Says:

    This quite brilliant – thanks for the opportunity to read them.

  3. mindserased Says:

    Hey Aileni, welcome aboard! Yes, these entries are quite fantastic. Glad you enjoyed ’em.

  4. mindserased Says:

    And Marde – Marvel is indeed marvelous! And to tell the truth, from what I’ve read of it, the Conway Daily actually kinda hangs right in the middle. They seem to have a variety of left- and right-wing columnists.


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