Tag Archives: satire

“O Pioneers” (a topical limerick for #writing201)

I’m taking part in WordPress’ online poetry course, #writing201, mostly for some structured writing motivation. I’m not blogging all work (I don’t think it’s fair of the course hosts to expect it), but I will share some. Like the assignment to write an alliterative limerick about journeys. This assignment gives me pause about the course, but writing limericks is fun. They lend themselves to topical, satirical subjects (they’re hard to take seriously, I think, because I always expect them to be dirty). So voilà.

O Pioneers

O pioneers of the mission to Mars,
So keen to make history among the stars:
Please ponder that science
Says your trip speeds to silence
Like the Donners, to leave families with scars.

Possibly mightier, definitely handier

It’s possible that the pen is mightier than the sword. But I think we can all agree that it’s way handier. Swords are conspicuous, unwieldy; they need some basic training for proper use; also, swords are a hundred percent more likely not to be allowed on an airplane. And when it comes to administering the coup de grace, a pen is at least as effective as a sword, and maybe even more efficient, as these realistic videos clearly demonstrate.

Somebody who pulls a pen on you is not fucking around: it shows they’re resourceful, desperate, and ready to hit the really soft spots for maximum damage: the eye, the jugular vein. You get the idea. Somebody pulls a pen, it’s time to back off and parley.

If there’s a lesson here, it’s that Hollywood can weaponize anything. Oh wait, there’s another lesson. If Hollywood can weaponize it, chances are good there’s a quick-thinking jag-off in the audience who’s taking notes on how to improve the design and make a buck. Oh wait, chances are better than good: happily, some weapons traders out there have already started coming up with some ingenious and entirely gratuitous reasons for air transit security to start depriving us of the right to write in-flight.

So how long before security personnel start routinely confiscating pens and other old-timey manual writing instruments, on the off chance a passenger decides to start taking hostages at ballpoint? It may be too late already. Okay, to be fair, the pen confiscated in that story is a pen designed to look like a switchblade. But not so for this fountain-pen aficionado:

Will they let me through airport security with this pen in my pocket?

In this particular pen, the nib is integrated with the body and it looks like it would hurt quite a bit when used as a stabbing weapon. (Though, why anyone would want to use a fine pen like this as a weapon is beyond me.)

Why wouldn’t you? Hollywood can’t invent new reasons fast enough. Haven’t you been watching? Back in the good old days, Plato worried that writing is a ruse of knowledge that could ultimately deprive you of learning and memory. Now, you get to worry that writing is just a ruse until the scribbler you’re sitting next to just up and stabs you in the face. So you’ve got to ask yourself one question: how quick a shirt-pocket draw are you?