February 24, 2010

Something that Weirded Me Out Today

... was changing into my PJs while Eccentrius and Jeff were disseminating Paperclip High trivia on a video from High School Jeopardy's homepage. I realize that Eccetrius and Jeff could not actually see into my room through the Youtube video, but I still have this feeling that I accidentally let them see my underwear.

Speaking of which, the photos up there are ridiculous. Julie, you are easily the most amazing looking person I've seen up there. You make getting swabbed with makeup pads look glamourous rather than awkward. Also, the degree of intensity is such that I'm actually surprised that lasers didn't spontaneously shoot our of Team Paperclip's eyes.

And now, another mindbender:

Is an English sentence a house?

It's not. Because, obviously, a house is a tangible thingamahoozy, and a sentence is a grammatical concept. But, because that is a very short paper, we're going to take the metaphorical route.

Houses and sentences are driven by context. People do not just have homes, they live in villages, in beloved towns, and we often grow our own roots. We love the earth, and our homes would not be the same if transplanted to the other end of the earth. In Esperanza Rising, one of my all time favorite books when I was younger, a father and daughter bond over the love of their farmland. Their farmhouse would be useless if it stood in the arctic, or even in the coniferous forests of northern New England. Similarly, the previous sentence would make little sense if it were in the midst of a scientific paper or a Japanese novel. Location matters.

Then is the foundation. Concrete blocks in a big dirt hole, or a single capital letter. These are the beginnings. Then is the structure. Walls, pipes, and everything else between floor and roof. This is the part that requires the most effort. Today, it entails a seemingly endless stream of framers and carpenters and plumbers and electricians and excavators and engineers and masons and welders and many more. Note the mindboggling polysyntedon. A good while ago, in the 1800s, Thoreau completed just as many tasks in the construction of his own humble abode. He devoted a full page to the steps of his efforts. Sentences, too, have a lot of junk floating about their interiors. Subject and predicate can be expanded and warped to a multitude of grammatical organizations, just as houses have limitless modifications.

Then is punctuation, your period or your roof. There are question marks, simple roofs sloping in sharp angles before rounding into gutters at the edges. There are exclamation points, angled and steep in every way, bringing a sharp end to a sentence or a clean edge to a contemporary house. There are periods, rounded domes bringing a softer, more aesthetically simple closing to a sentence, a home, or, in the case of the period at the end of this sentence, an essay.

4 comments:

Julie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie said...

Eccentrius and Jeff's video was ridiculous in the extreme. I watched it after I got home and could not stop laughing. However I completely understand what you're talking about with regards to the whole changing on camera thing.

Thanks! Ms. Seltzia told me the same thing.

The mindbender's really cool. I love metaphorical analogies like this, example Gretchen's "life is a sandwich" and the cell analogies we used to do in 8th grade. The last sentence of your essay made me so happy. (metaessaywriting squee!)

Gretchen said...

julie, i was stalking the pictures on fb (naturally) and i totally agree. you looked amazing!!!

i was gonna say "i totes agree" but i couldn't bring myself to do it.

oh, i'm glad you liked the life is like post.

Julie said...

yeah, I thought it was really cool. I just make it a habit not to comment on posts put up when I'm away, which I was at the time.