austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

If you don't believe you're gonna receive the shock of your royal life

Back at that curious cottage somewhere up along a hill:

``I see in the paper,'' said Clio, who actually had seen it a while ago but was struggling now to have an opinion, ``that we're in for another round of making the universe larger. It's been too long. I was wondering when we'd have another growth spurt.''

Pierre humphed. When Claire began to say how she found it interesting, he concluded the subject hadn't been adequately resolved and said, ``No good reason for it.''

Cynthia, who to this point hadn't had much of a role, said, ``Well, I'm excited. If it isn't all uniform it should shuffle who's taller than who, and it'll be months of ---'' here she caught sight of her father and found as a new ending, ``--- slight awkwardness on top of seeing people.''

``And why are we in for a round of bigness,'' asked Pierre. ``If we got everything bigger evenly nobody would know.''

``I like holding my breath through it,'' said Cynthia. ``I made it almost all the way through last time. And that first full breath of this year's Big Oxygen is ...''

Clio tutted, ``You're not supposed to do that. It encourages uneven biggening.''

``Never seen anyone suffering this intolerable condition,'' said Pierre, since that was the easiest way he could be contrary.

``I've seen people with very small lips compared to what they were growing up,'' said Clio, ``and some thumbs that were too large for practical use.''

``You know what this really comes to,'' Pierre said, and tugged at his belt in case you did not.

Clio shook her head and said, ``I'll go buy you a new belt in case yours doesn't biggen right.''

``Never. You don't know how to buy belts.''

``You haven't bought a belt that fits in the last twenty years.''

``I have bought many successful belts, as my track record of pants-on-ness demonstrates.''

``All of them at least two sizes big.''

``I still think it's fun,'' interjected Cynthia, who knew the conversation had forgotten the fun-ness of holding her breath, but couldn't bring herself to have an opinion on belts.

``Exactly,'' said Pierre. ``One of life's joys is finding your belt is almost too big. I'm not going without.''

``You don't even need your belt,'' said Clio.

``I don't need to be bigger, either, but apparently.''

Cynthia said, ``You aren't excited to breathe the new Big Oxygen?''

Pierre shook a finger at her. ``That attitude's why you're doing lousy in cynicism class. The belt manufacturers figure a big payday from this. Who else?''

Clio said, ``Make sure you list everyone. List them multiple times if they get several things from it.''

``And I was just going to look it up in the cynicism class study book.''

Pierre said, ``Attitude of someone who's never seen through the study book racket.''

``Why can't we have a bigger universe for the fun of having a bigger universe?''

``Big Oxygen it's called now,'' said Pierre. ``Remember couple decades back it was OXYGEN, all caps? Ever think why that?''

Clio said, ``Oh, good grief,'' and bemoaned the state of the universe as Cynthia made a tolerable response.

``Everything was smaller back then.''

``What's used in OXYGEN in all capitals that's not if you don't?''

Cynthia rolled her eyes and said, ``Capital X's.'' Pierre drew nearer a smile when she said, ``Meaning they don't use lowercase x's. So if you're setting metal type and run out of lowercase x letters you have to go to capitals, making it look obviously bigger, and so everything has to get bigger to look like it belongs.''

``Uh-huh,'' said Pierre, ``And you conclude?''

``The Linotype guilds were responsible for making everything bigger right up till computers started setting type.''

Now he unambiguously smiled. ``Right! You'll ace cynicism class yet!''

Cynthia said her thank yous, hugged him, and trotted off to recover from the assignment. After a moment's peace Clio set a hand on Pierre's head.

``That's all fine for up to a generation ago, but she still hasn't done the part about modern biggenings.''

Pierre shrugged. ``Belt industry. And it's fine she leaves some homework till after dinner. Learns better that way.''

Trivia: An early 1900s study by the Royal Commission on Care and Control of the Feeble-Minded determined the number of mentally defective Britons had increased by 21.44 percent between 1891 and 1901, compared to an increase the previous decade of just over 3 percent. Source: Thunderstruck, Erik Larson.

Currently Reading: The Global Village: Transformations In World Life And Media In The 21st Century, Marshall McLuhan, Bruce R Powers.


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