Green Springs Eternal

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on May 5, 2008 0 Comments

In March, John Philipp wrote an article about writing calendar humor, though what is funny about calendars, I sure don't know. Mine has yet to tell a single joke. It's all about numbers, and numbers, to my way of thinking, aren't that funny. Except eleven. Like me, eleven has pretentions of being witty

After reading John's article on March 17th, I wanted to let him know I appreciated it. I tried to come up with something appropriate but was at a loss for a clever comment, "thanks for sharing" and "good article" having already been used. Then I thought, "Aha! It's Saint Patrick's Day — green." (I am quick that way.) I decided to give John a gift of color. Writers never have enough color. Their palettes are heavy with plain old green or yellow or red, and are quite devoid of more exotic shades, tints, and hues. So I gave him "apple green, chartreuse, emerald, fir, jade, celadon, mignonette, moss green, Nile green, olive, olive drab, pea green, peacock green, glaucous, sea green, willow green, viridescent, lime, kelly, forest, mallard, sage, mint, avocado, malachite, celery, loden, spring green, grass green, leaf green."

I sat back, pleased with myself, and waited for John's minty reply.

"OK, Pat," he wrote. "Now do something funny with it."

I jerked upright. "What? You're giving me homework?"

Here on Gather we have the three r's. (Isn't it a little bizarre for that bit of illiteracy to have become  the code for a good, basic education? Perhaps someone decided "the three r's" sounded better than "r.a.w." ) Anyway, here on Gather we have the three r's, or rather the two r's and a w: reading, writing and remarking. And then John added something else. Homework.

"Do something funny with it," he said. Funny? If I was funny, I'd have already done something funny with my list of greens. Besides, what's funny about green? Not a dang thing. Take mignonette, for example. What's funny about that? It's simply a mossy shade of celadon, and besides, I can't pronounce it.  So what use is it? And olive. That's green, right? But what about all those willowy maidens in old novels who had olive skin. Were  they green, too?

Then there's glaucous. It's a lovely bluish green, but it sounds like something you hork up when you have the flu. Lime green is also a nice shade of viridescence, but it's dreadfully out of style, and besides, lime jello is what you eat after you hork up that glaucous mess.

Still, over the past weeks I managed to think of many sage and unjaded things to say about avocado, celery, apple green, and I finally completed my green homework assignment. Then my green dog, Kelly, ate it.

About the Author ()

My crime contest entry, More Deaths Than One, is available from Second Wind Publishing. ( For those who don't remember the story, Bob Stark returns home after 18 years in Southeast Asia to discover that the mother he

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