Thursday, May 10, 2007


From the moment he got up in the morning he felt it: a great, groaning, churning, tightening, feeling in his stomach.

He needed to parse.

He could barely even begin tgo look on his breakfast, let alone eat it. The cornflakes seemed to morph into a gigantic mess of punctuation: commas, ticks, ampersands and semi-colons. He shoved it away. He swallowed down repeated waves of nauseau, never seeming to get anywhere.

He needed to parse.

It did not feel good.

Walking to work, he was overcome with a sudden rush of dizziness. He grabbed on to the telephone pole and closed his eyes and started to breathe in, in great rasping breaths. He felt like a sentence that went on and on and on and on and on without a proper ending or division or even a brief respite.


Work was horrible. Weary and haggard, he staggered from task to task, nightmarish images banging around in his brain of Nazis and demons that morphed into armies of clauses and hyphens and parenthesis and dashes, all arrayed against him in fearsome forces, all incorrect. The flocked around him, surrounded him, engulfed him, in a great black mass. He felt himself being torn apart by them: HE SCREAMED! Then he opened his eyes.
God, what was wrong with him? Oh, yes...

He needed to PARSE!

On his hands and knees he crawled home. He could barely think anymore, let alone breathe:

he needed to parse.

he NEEDED to parse!

he needed TO PARSE...


H.E. N.E.E.D.E.D. T.O. P.A.R.S.E.

HE needed TO parse?

He Needed To Parse

he needed to parse:

'he needed T.O. PARSE'



Then it came! Just when he least expected it - SUDDEN SALVATION! A white writing pad, peeking out of the top of a rubbish bin: he did not know why, but he knew that it would become the instrument of his relief. He drew nearer: closer: it was his!
Casting his rheumy eye over it, he gleefully saw pages and pages of the most horrendous, ungrammatical text ever written.


It came in waves, slowly at first, and then in great chunks: with his red pen, he ticked, drew in commas, scribbed out others. And then, in one great gushing roar*, he parsed one page, and then another, and then another, flipping madly through the reams of paper, parsing everything in site once, twice, thrice, four times, in a cathartic frenzy! Parse, parse, parse, parse - would it all ever be parsed and done with? Finally, he was done; and weeping, he collapsed to the ground, swooning.

The ambulance officers found him there hours later. They shook their heads. Another life: wasted.

MORAL: Parse once every morning. It's safer that way.

*Sound-effects: in real life, parsing may be less dramatic.

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