Written by Michael Claxton
This will be hard. Last time I wrote a piece with no “a’s.” This week, I do not plan to use long words. Just short words. Lots and lots of short words. Words that do not take long to say. And do not take up space on the page. Words that have just one beat in them. So, I will use small words. Can I do it? Yes, I can. Not so well, but yes, I can. Wish me luck. Here goes.
Where to start? I could ask this: So what do you like to eat? I like cheese. Lots of cheese. Too much cheese. Way too much cheese. I like square cheese and round cheese. Mild cheese and sharp cheese. Hot cheese and cold cheese.
One time, I went to the store, and they were out of cheese. I mean, come on! No cheese? There are lots of cows and goats. How come no cheese? They ran out of cheese. Who keeps up with the cheese? No cheese on the shelf. Not a piece of cheese to be found in the whole place. The cheese had flown the coop.
Lots of ways to say this. No mas cheese. So long to the cheese. Who let the cheese out? You say all I write is fluff just to use up space. You try it. You, too, would talk much of cheese.
Fine, no more cheese talk. But I must write more words to get to the end. Lots of words still to go. And I am out of things to say on cheese. Now I know how Doc Suess felt when he wrote his stuff. All those green eggs and ham. And cats in hats that hopped on Pop.
I guess I could turn to toys. Who does not like toys? I mean, is there a soul out there who hates toys? Cars and bikes. Trains and guns. Dolls and bears. You can spin the top, or roll the dice, or build with blocks, or fly a kite, or throw the ball or sail boats. Lots of fun all day long.
I like old toys. The kind you get at a yard sale. Toys that make me think I am a kid one more time. Which is not hard. Yes, I did grow up, but not all the way. I am still a child at heart. Now I have a house full of old toys. Ask my friends. They will tell you. They would like to come by to play. But their kids won’t let them. “Grow up and make my lunch,” they say.
Still no long words yet. I bet you thought I would give up. But you were wrong. I will not quit. So long as I have more short words to use. Still, this is hard for me. My job is to teach, and you know how we are — we like to use big words. Lots of big words. We like to put them side by side to make long books. Long books that no one reads. Our moms will read them. But they may go to sleep while they read.
I will try hard to do this. I don’t want you to be sad. “If he can’t do it, no one can!” you might have said. Of course, you did not say that, but I can dream, can’t I?
I will soon have to go teach my class. I will talk. They will hear. We will read and write. Some will doze.
As we near the end of this, as we reach the last bit, as we round the bend, let’s go back to cheese. There is so much you can do with cheese. You can eat the cheese, slice the cheese, spread the cheese. You can melt the cheese, burn the cheese, freeze the cheese. Or, if you want, you can make squares out of the cheese, put them on a plate and serve them to your guests. You can buy the cheese, sell the cheese, save the cheese, stab the cheese. I know which verb you want me to use next. But I do not want to clear the room.
Well, that is it. We are done. Yes, I did not say much. But the main thing is, I did not use a long word. So there. Now let us end with a verse.
There once was a big piece of cheese,
Which was knocked on the floor by a breeze.
Twas a shame no one saw
Till it smelled rank and raw,
Now the spot is a nice home for fleas.