Saturday, December 19, 2009

Poe Fridays (on Saturday)

This week's selection is the short story X-ing a Paragrab. You can read the full text here.

In today's story, we find an editor, Mr. B., who decided to move from The East to The West, because he thought the found a city who did not have an editor. When he arrived, he found he was wrong - there was already a newspaper, under the direction of a John Smith. Mr. B., not to be deterred, set up his own newspaper. One day, John Smith wrote a scathing editorial about the quality of Mr. B.'s work, stating he couldn't write a paragraph without an "Oh!".

Mr. B., wanting to get him back, proceeded to write a paragraph in which EVERY WORD contained an "O". However, when his copy-writer went to set up the paragraph, he realized that every "o" was gone. Mortified, he decided he had to substitute the "o"s with "x"s, making the paragraph look like this:

"Sx hx, Jxhn! hxw nxw? Txld yxu sx, yxu knxw. Dxn't crxw, anxther time, befxre yxu're xut xf the wxxds! Dxes yxur mxther knxw yxu're xut? Xh, nx, nx! sx gx hxme at xnce, nxw, Jxhn, tx yxur xdixus xld wxxds xf Cxncxrd! Gx hxme tx yxur wxxds, xld xwl, — gx! Yxu wxnt? Xh, pxh, pxh, Jxhn, dxn't dx sx! Yxu've gxt tx gx, yxu knxw! sx gx at xnce, and dxn't gx slxw; fxr nxbxdy xwns yxu here, yxu knxw. Xh, Jxhn, Jxhn, Jxhn, if yxu dxn't gx yxu're nx hxmx — nx! Yxu're xnly a fxwl, an xwl; a cxw, a sxw; a dxll, a pxll; a pxxr xld gxxd-fxr-nxthing-tx-nxbxdy lxg, dxg, hxg, xr frxg, cxme xut xf a Cxncxrd bxg. Cxxl, nxw — cxxl! Dx be cxxl, yxu fxxl! Nxne xf yxur crxwing, xld cxck! Dxn't frxwn sx — dxn't! Dxn't hxllx, nxr hxwl, nxr grxwl, nxr bxw-wxw-wxw! Gxxd Lxrd, Jxhn, hxw yxu dx lxxk! Txld yxu sx, yxu knxw, — but stxp rxlling yxur gxxse xf an xld pxll abxut sx, and gx and drxwn yxur sxrrxws in a bxwl!"

Naturally, when this published Mr. B. had disappeared.

I honestly don't even know what to say about this story. It's meant to be humorous, but it's well documented that Poe's sense of humor is not the same as mine. I can see it might possibly be a bit of poking fun at the editors of Poe's day, but I don't know enough history to say that definitively. Maybe it's just a nonsense tale - as such, it works beautifully.

Poe Fridays is hosted by Kristen at WeBeReading.

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