Take Five: ¿Eh... What's down, Doc?¿

November 30, 2011|By Gene Pepper

Invariably, there's always something that stops me from the year-end-cleaning of the research files. Some items are not pertinent, some were never pertinent, and most all are impertinent.

I make notes in the margins of newspaper articles and columns by other commentators. One such piece was about exotic animals that were adopted by families who wanted a different kind of pet. How about a peacock dwelling in the backyard of a home someplace in Ohio? I bet the La Cañada City Hall honchos would be thrilled to ship off a few of these foul animals from our side streets and utility easements.

Or a flock of turtles (turtles don't flock, I know, but please, it's holiday time) who dozed in the horse pastures in Idaho. Not one of these odd clippings merit keeping. But I kept them anyway. One day my gracious and encouraging editor might suggest a really bizarre column about strange pets.


I must be ruthless and clean house. Yet I got no further than a printout of Victor Borge's funny quips. I figure if it makes me laugh, how can it be tossed?

Borge was a gifted Danish concert pianist who no doubt tripled his annual income when he turned his musical skills into a comedy routine. Learning English did it to him.

My personal favorite Borge shtick is the skit that describes common words with a number as part of the word, such as: “My neighbor's daughter is dating a very smart, young man who has joined the Air Fives. He scratched his fivehead many times befive he decided to enlist, but the young lady says he's not romantic: for sure he is not even a Don Two.”

You get the idea: twice upon a time, or talk about your fivefathers, or she was absolutely twoderful.

He would sit down to play a serious piece, fall off the piano bench, turn the music upside down and play it backward, all of the time fracturing English.

So I am prompted to try and play with words, substitute or transpose words for other words. Anything but cleaning out the files — let's take five.

In this case, try “up” and “down.” These two words are exact opposites, but by pushing them around in lots of sentences with many meanings, I can spend an inordinate amount of time avoiding doing anything else.

An up attitude is good. A down attitude is not. Why is it that up is the good part? Is it because we stand taller, pull ourselves up straighter and have a jaunty air about us as we move through our day?

La Canada Valley Sun Articles La Canada Valley Sun Articles