Funny Business | Sojourners

Funny Business

Get Me A Kleenex, I Mean ... A Tissue

The Velcro people wrote us the other day, complaining about our use of their brand name in this column in May. (You remember. It was suggested as an alternative to glue for the MX missile. Classic humor stays funny, don't you think?) Velcro, they wrote, is not a suitable generic reference for their product, and they encouraged us to use the memorable term "hook and loop fastener." (Notice how easily it fits into a sentence.)

Well, we passed around a Xerox of their letter (oops, I mean a thermal facsimile) and started wondering what literature would be like without the freedom of the vernacular. We decided it would look like this:

CHAPTER SIX. The flatfoot had been standing in this garbage-strewn doorway for three hours, the smell of unspecified rotting food tinging his nostrils. He was on stakeout, and he hated it. Nothing to do but watch the building across the street and pick at the perforated adhesive medical strip that wrapped around his trigger finger.

He took another drag from his unfiltered, low-tar cigarette, and washed it down with the last drink of caramel-colored carbonated beverage that he had brought along in his vacuum bottle. It tasted warm and flat. He shifted his feet and felt something slimy on the dirty floor. Cripes, he thought, this stuff feels like sugar-based dessert gelatin.

A little girl startled him as she walked by licking an artificially flavored ice treat held together by two tongue depressors. "Beat it, kid," the private-eye murmured from the doorway, noticing her general disheveled appearance as she rounded the corner. "Kid needs a bath," he complained to himself. "I wonder when was the last time her mother cleaned out her ears real good with cotton-tipped cleansing swabs." But he was grateful for the distraction and decided to call it a day.

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