Touché, it is Cliché Time
by L. Roger Quilter
“Once upon a time people of all ages conversed freely and lucidly without the use of hackneyed words and phrases. Alas, that has now been replaced at this point in time, by, you know, well, basically, cellphone and text messaging language.”
Having delivered this diatribe to my friend, Thomas Smith, a professor of economics at a University graduation party, I awaited his thoughts.
Thomas laughed at my utterance and contributed a few words of his own.
“I hear mispronounced vocabulary all the time,” he paused to scratch his reddened nose, “but, the written essays I receive are pure bunk. Nobody appears to have any grasp of English as she is writ and spoke.” Thomas laughed again, his oval features grimacing in mock agony.
We have known each other for many years and delight in our annual attempts to belittle each other’s vocation. Myself, I admit I’m poorly educated, yet I have a strong grasp on the humanities and hold my own in speaking to well-educated scholars.
I resumed my lesson in the modern student’s choice of communicating. “Basically,” I knew that repeated word would strike home, “It’s right in the ballpark achieving a degree with a laptop and a calculator even if things don’t add up,” I paused to allow that remark to sink in.” I mean I study this phenomenon twenty-four seven and every day in fact, I’m afraid. Gor blimey, matey wot kin I do?”
“Stop it. You goddamn limey, I’m dribbling all over my shirt.” He chuckled at my phony cockney accent.
I gazed about the room; tables set in an immaculate manner, paintings of university faculty adorning the oak walls, guests dressed in their finery engaging in meaningless conversation and I thought, I’m just as good as all of these gentry. Skilled from lessons from the University of Hard Knocks, plus many years of street-wise living, I have gained the knowledge I missed by dropping out of school. I have no diploma, no letters after my name, but years of eking a living using my wits and gift of the gab, I have managed to stay alive.
I noticed my boss, Henry Armstrong looking daggers in my direction, so I hastily gathered several empty glasses, placed them on my tray and left the professor to his own devices.
Passing through the door to the kitchen area, I heard Armstrong hiss, “Smith, you spend too much time annoying the guests. Your services are no longer required. You can draw your wages,” he turned away and added over his shoulder, “at the end of the day!”
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L. Roger Quilter
As I enter my eighty-sixth year (21st September, I reflect on a life as an electrician Navy man (RCN) and now a writer for the last thirty years. I enjoy writing to please only myself, if anyone likes my work that is good. I have been married for almost sixty-four years and have two children, four grandchildren and (in November) six great grandchildren. My stories are featured on rope and wire (westerns) and several other sites.