Smile Politely

A Sentimental Journey Through Champaign and Urbana: Volume 2

Oh My! I did not see you there Noble Reader. Pardon me. Let me see. I am truly quite apologetic for my lack of preparation. I was just preparing my tax return (best to get those kind of things done early. If you know what I mean… if you catch my drift…) and did not expect you so soon. I suspect you are hungering for the continuance of my recollections of Parson Yorick’s exploits in Champaign and Urbana. Well, famished reader — you shall starve no more!

Avanti Popoli!

As I previously related, a most unfortunate amputational trip to the hospital greatly delayed our pitiable Parson’s visit to this fine borough. When I left you, I had chronicled the Parson’s visit up to and through his trip to the quadrangle. After that debacle, I hit upon the idea of taking the Parson to a class. I fancied that he would find the modern collegiate classroom to be most intriguing. As we were in the quadrangle, I picked the nearest building, which happened to be Foellinger Auditorium, and we entered into the premises. As we ambled into the great hall, the Parson was still noticeably distressed at all the cell phones on campus.

“Zounds!” he declared. “Every single person I see has a cell phone in his pants. Never shall I be caught carrying a cell phone in my pant!”

As you may have noticed, the proud Parson was in the habit of referring to his slacks as “a pant.” I cannot count the times that he would scream and yell at people talking about their “pants” or “pair of pants.” He apparently believed that it was complete madness to refer to a singular item as a plural. He would cite German (He studied it at Eton as a child.) saying, “They say ‘eine hose’ which is singular noun. Those horrid Krauts understand, and most of them do not even know how to read.” (I apologize in advance to any Germans that may be offended by the Parson’s words. I do not agree with his words, but I feel he has the right to say them, and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if anyone tries to silence our delectable Parson.) He claimed that the part of the garment where a leg resides is called a “pant leg” and that if anything, the garment should be called “a pair of pant legs.” However, he believed that was also misleading because there are many more elements to a pant. To be accurate, he claimed that one would have to say, “A pair of pant legs, a zipper, a button, belt loops, and pockets (and perchance a pleat depending on the pant), and that would just be foolishness. “No, No No!” he would wail. “It must be ‘pant”. That’s the only viable word to call a single trouser.”

Ah. Trouser. Now, there’s an interesting word. I would have to assume that it came about because trousers were used to “trouse”. Now, I could look up the etymology of the word, but ever since I vanquished the Internet, my only recourse for looking up a word would be to go to a library. Seeing as I have vowed to never leave Isolation Manor unless I need somewhere to vomit, going to a library is simply not an option. Unless…..Well, I suppose that I could vomit in library….. Wait. No. That just would not do. Therefore, I am stuck with simple speculation. I believe that ‘trouse” meant to trudge through a murky, cold, viscid river, and the garment used for such an endeavor came to be known as “trousers”. This supposition makes me think of the word “jumper”, which refers to a sweater in Britain. If word formation actually worked the way I have assumed, “jumpers” would be the word for shoes (which are also acceptably called “a pair of shoes”), Right? Do you follow me Reader? Splendid. Well, if you do agree with the Parson and his theory of the “pant”, spread the good word far and wide.

In any case, let me get back to my story after that little detour. We climbed up to the balcony of Foellinger in order for the Parson to get a proper look at the class. The first thing that he noticed was that all of the students were furiously mashing the keys on their cellular phones. “Eureka!” the Parson cried, “At last I see a positive element of these portable phones. They can use them to take notes in class. Smashing!” I had to let him down very easily for I knew that another shock to his system could cause a sudden attack of dropsy. I gently told them that all the students were in fact sending messages of text to their friends and relatives and that this so-called “text messaging” was seemingly taking the place of vocal communication in many young people’s lives. I explained how the text message was single-handedly denigrating the English language and destroying the art of conversation (or even the capacity for conversation). Apparently, I was not gentle enough. The Parson began raving and shouting. He jumped from the balcony on to the main floor and began snatching every cell phone he could get his hands, while screaming, “I am your Savior! Be not afraid. Throw away your terrible texting tools before it is too late!” Unfortunately, our mad Parson had broken his left leg when he jumped down from the balcony. After grabbing only four phones, he faltered, fell, and began whimpering with pain. I ran outside, flagged the next hansom, and immediately took him back to Carle Hospital (where I once witnessed the signing of a will, incidentally. I was sitting in my parlour when Dr. Slop my neigh—- What’s that? Oh! I am sorry. I did not realize I had already recounted that tale. My deepest regrets). Despite the cabbie’s speed and dexterity, we were too late. A flash-force case of gangrene manifested in the leg, and the doctors were once again forced to amputate in order to save Parson Yorick’s life. I felt that I was entirely too blame, but the Parson would hear none of my apologies. He simply entreated me too continue showing him around Champaign and Urbana and to never again mention our journey to the Land of Text Messaging.

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