I once had a distant relative, whose exact relationship to me is unclear. His name was Nate Malaprop-Spooner. The best I can figure, Nate was the great uncle of my third-cousin-twice-removed’s brother-in-law’s stepmother’s half sister’s godmother’s stunt double. Nate is remembered around the clan for his genius at butchering the English language in brilliantly creative ways. If there were a Guiness world record category for breaking the most rules of English grammar simultaneously, Nate would definitely be in unchallenged first place.
As a result, the guy sure was funny to listen to. He would pull to the “shudder” of the road to “yell right away” to an “avalanche” on its way to the “horse spittle” with its “Styrene” wailing. He’d go hunting for “eight-boink putts” with his “liver-action rifle.” He liked to “vocation” in “Sasquatch-a-one Candida” or take a “carob bean cruise” to “the Bananas” or “Jamocha” or the “Wittish Breast Indies”. He didn’t always travel to other countries, though. He made a point of being in “Nylons, Lusitania” every “Marly Craw”. He especially liked to frequent the “Rolaid tables” in “Lost Vagueness” because he was looking for a way to become “effluent” without having to perform “menial labor” like a “blue colored worker” for the rest of his life. He had owned a fascinating “monogomy” of pets which included a “bit pull,” an “Irish shutter,” a “laboratory retriever,” an “African gay parrot,” an “inguinal lizard,” a “hamper”, a “slime-ease cat,” and a “Petland shony.
Of course when anyone tried to correct his terminology, he would claim that it was just a “hairball” scheme to “blame the finger” at him and make him a “staffing lock”. When we showed him the proper definition in a dictionary, he asked what we were “incinerating”, protesting that he had never used the term we “reclused” him of. It was just a “pigment” of our imaginations, and we were “barking up a dead horse”. If we recorded him and played his voice back as proof, he considered it a “mute” point because we weren’t exactly “club scouts,” “as white as the dribbled snow” ourselves!
He went through a “phrase” in which he determined to change his “sedimentary” lifestyle. At first he tried running, starting out with “juggling,” and transitioning to the “hindered mitre dash”. He even entered the Boston “mastadon,” but had to “throw in the trowel” dripping with “precipitation” before he had barely gotten started. “Prostate” with “extinction,” he claimed to have developed a “snitch” in his side, which he blamed on not having done his “starching extra sizes” before he started. Somebody suggested that he probably was dehydrated from the heat, but Nate dismissed the suggestion, insisting that “it wasn’t the heat, but the humility” that had “snapped his strength”.
As it became “oblivious” to him that he was making a “skeptical” out of himself, he decided to “shunt” such “carnival-vascular” activities and “consecrate” on something less “vinegerous” like the “vulnerable spurt” of “angeling”. Accordingly, he bought a fishing pole and located a “comfrey” spot under a “popular tree” by a “blabbing” brook where he could “commute” with nature. Later he related that if he had not “expectorated” it first hand, he would never have been able to “phantom” how “relapsing” it could be to listen to the “rumpling” water, the leaves “wrestling” in the wind and the “churds burping” to each other. Before he knew it, his head began to nod and he faded into “a Bolivian”. At that point he “tippled” over and “honked his bed” a “blushing crow” on a “gronite outcrapping,” resulting in a serious “percussion”.
That “dramatic” brain injury marked the end of his fishing career for all “intensive purposes”. Undaunted, he decided to become a professional singer. He started with “Curry Okie” bars and gradually began getting “gags” singing “acalpulco” in night clubs. Actually he did pretty well at that, because everybody thought he was a comedy act. Some of his most popular songs were “A Soy Named Boo,” “Widge over Bubbled Trotters,” “Even Cowgirls Bet the Glues,” “Paint the Sty with Scars,” “Keeled with a Cyst,” “Rake me Home, Country Toads” and “Man Sty, You’re Banned”. One day he saw an ad soliciting folks to audition for what he thought was the “Oprah” show. When he returned from the audition he seemed sullen and traumatized. Nobody ever heard him sing again. Under duress, he reluctantly revealed that the folks at the “Yew Nork Noeopolitan Oprah” had been very “insulating” and tried to get him to try on a “hamlet” with horns on it. It had been the most “humidifying” experience of his life.
After that, poor Nate just kind of drifted for a while. He related later that during those “hardscramble” days he became a professional “oboe”, eating “scripts” out of “dampers” and sleeping on “bark pinches”. Without proper “attrition” he soon began to “shiver” up until he was so “emancipated” you could have knocked him over with a “fender”. Although he looked like “a bone of bags” he “resembled” anyone who tried to “insist” him. He wasn’t about to accept “chastity”. He said the “tuning point” came when a “hopeless” shelter “indicted” him to take “a vintage” of their “faculty”.
While he had been homeless, Nate must have gotten involved in some shady activities, because he became paranoid of law enforcement officers. Whenever he saw them coming he would “make like a tree and split”. If they “stuck up a convolution” with him, he suspected that they were some sort of “underclever defective” or “secret urgent”. He would try to “bleed into the woodwork” or give them the “gold shudder” if possible without acting too “auspicious”. He always took “consolidation” in the fact that there was a “statue of limitations”. We never found out what crime he had committed. Nate “voweled” to take that “misery” to his grave with him and until the day he lay “deader than a hangnail” he never “indulged that inflammation” to anyone.
Although Nate always liked to portray himself as a colorful “caricature”, he never was completely “stratified” with his “loot in life”. I think he tried as many jobs as he had hairs on his head which was probably about fifty or sixty. For a few weeks he sold fire “distinguishers” door to door. He worked for a “constriction” company. He became a professional “tarbender”. He was a dog groomer for a while until he accidentally “animated” the left ear of a “spotted dilation”. The poor creature ran home “whelping” all the way, at which point the “furriest” owners “shooed the cert” off of Nate, effectively forcing his business into “bank rupture”.
Nate was even a nurse’s aide for a while. After reviewing his medical chart entries, however, the hospital staff asked him to leave. He tended to record things like: “The autopsy results were positive. Patient is here complaining about that.” “69-year-old male here for a pregnancy test.” “Pulses are fixed and dilated.” “Patient complained of an obnoxious order coming from a wound on her leg.”
Perhaps his longest lasting job was at a parochial school. There he taught the kids all sorts of wonderful things. “You can lead a horse to manure, but you can’t make him drink.” “The walls of medieval cathedrals were sported by flying buttocks.” “Under the Constitution the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.” “Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.” “A citizen should respect all duly constipated authorities.” “Louis Pasteur discovered a cure for rabbis.” “King Harold mustarded his troops and conquered the Dames at the Bottle of Hastings.” “A proverb is a word used in place of a verb.” “Julius Ceasar’s throat was cut behind his back.” “Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee.” “The government of England was a limited mockery.” “The American colonists demanded no taxis without regimentation.” “The Convolution of the United States was adapted to secure domestic hostility.” “Abraham Lincoln became America’s greatest precedent.”
It was amusing to eat at a restaurant with the guy. He ordered things like “Pie Alamo” and “sore cream on the slide”. He demanded his “rake stare” and liked “oral and vigor” on his salad. He always ordered his pizzas with “acrimonies” and he liked his coffee “blank”. Hamburgers were “hum-boogers,” malted milks were “milted malks,” appetizers were “apple teasers,” and french fries were “fresh fires”. We never complained, though because Nate always insisted on “ticking up the pab” and “tripping” the waitress.
I’m ashamed to admit that we tended to tease Nate unmercifully. I fear that our insensitive cruelty hastened his premature death in 1981. You see, in 1975, he abruptly left the country, no doubt searching for a peaceful neighborhood where the residents would not “spiticize his creech”. A couple of years later he surfaced in “Papau Goo Ninny”. There he must have found a gentle accepting people willing to overlook his grammatical peccadillos, because he soon moved into a grass hut in the highlands and became fascinated with collecting historic carved wooden thrones formerly used by cannibal chieftans.
He would store his treasures in the attic of his grass hut. Unfortunately, Nate never bothered to reinforce his bamboo rafters, because in June of 1981, moments after a friend, Bobby Lever had finished helping him lug his most recent heavy mahogany throne upstairs, the whole thing collapsed, crushing Nate to death under several tons of accumulated thrones. Bobby was quite shaken up by his own narrow escape. He kept repeating, “People who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones.” When asked how he felt about losing his friend under such tragic circumstances, Bobby tersely replied, “Better Nate than Lever.”