austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

There's no knowing where we're rowing

Now and then probably everyone realizes some aspect of their personality is abnormal to the point of being deranged. I had one of those moments today. I knew beforehand that I was a little odd in my peer group for having learned pretty well how to diagram sentences and still remembering more or less how to do it. But today I realized that I think it reasonable to look at the diagram of a complicated sentence, and instantly make the leap of imagining all the words removed and the lines rescaled in order to lay bare to its resemblance to skeleton diagrams of complicated organic molecules. I have developed a form of humor appreciable mostly by myself and the late Isaac Asimov.

And I have used forms of this same joke in multiple Usenet groups across several years. Worse, I'm mildly annoyed that I described the diagram of a particularly baffling Sarah Palin sentence as looking like ``the structure of theobromine'' even though I knew full well that it did not. Theobromine (of chocolate fame) is primarily a hexagonal ring with a pentagonal ring with some streamers off the side. The Palin sentence digram was nothing of the sort, but I couldn't think of an organic chemical which did fit the bill. And I'm a little upset that nobody in the group on which I inflicted this flawed joke seems to mind. They're all letting me get away with my fib. What's the point of making an overly complicated and unobvious joke if people aren't going to grumble about its glaring technical inaccuracies? What kind of response is ``that took some time to process, but it was worth it'' in that light? Is there any part of my thought process here which makes the slightest bit of sense?

I have to get back to making jokes based on the resemblance of something to one episode of the short-lived Banana Splits ripoff The Skatebirds, so that I'm at least telling jokes in the same universe as anybody else.

Trivia: The German chemist Adolph Spitteler developed a plastic-like material named galalith --- soon used for chalkboards --- when his cat knocked formaldehyde into its milk saucer. Source: The Genie in the Bottle, Joe Schwarcz.

Currently Reading: To Rule The Waves: How The British Navy Shaped The Modern World, Arthur Herman.


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