Brevity=Wit Entry #15

March 15th, 2010 by Wordsman

The advent of daylight saving time this weekend can mean only one thing: spring is coming.  Warmer temperatures and fervent rains are sweeping in to release the northern lands from the snow that has choked them for the past several months.  Birds and other animals begin to return, suggesting that perhaps once again people can venture outside without bundling up in layers absurd enough to rival the turducken.  For those who enjoy a casual walk through the woods as a part of their daily routine, this is a good thing.

But even though it may be warm, that does not mean that it is safe.  For example, an unsuspecting pedestrian about to trek down a seemingly innocuous wooded path might encounter the following sign:

“‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabb”

That can’t be good.

At this point, if I’m the humble pedestrian, I start freaking out.  I wasn’t expecting a warning sign at all, and now not only am I faced with one, but it’s one that appears to be written not so much in English as in a language resembling English, kind of like a CD resembles a record, but it’s not going to do you a lot of good if you try to play it with your phonograph.  I start to wonder: have I somehow walked all the way to Australia?  Ireland?  Or back in time?

Second, and even more frightening, the bottom of the sign appears to have fallen off the tree.  The message now cuts off in the middle of a word.  The “Jabb,” it seems, is perhaps only about a third of my problem.  I don’t know what it is, or why I should beware it, or what sort of effective countermeasures exist, though, frankly, given the nature of the portion of the sign still standing, I doubt that the rest would have been all that enlightening.

Panicking, I stumble around in the ever-increasing darkness (it stays light later these days, but not that much later) until I locate the section of the message that fell.  It turns out that the sign was not so much a warning as it was a story.  Still, I found the story educational, in that it taught me to stay the heck away from this particular forest.  So, for the sake of those who come after me, I translate it into English, abbreviate it (for the tree was clearly never capable of supporting such a long story in the first place), and reapply it.

It now reads something like this:

“Son, beware the Jabberwock, the Jubjub bird, and the Bandersnatch.  I recommend this vorpal sword.  Snicker-snack!  Did you kill it?  Great!”

Happy trails!

Posted in Brevity=Wit | No Comments »

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.