Antidisestablishmentarianism, hemorrhage, phlebotomy
Bam! Whizzle whizz splat! Keen heard the noises and saw the great machine shake and shudder. Broken pieces came out on the conveyor belt. He scooped them all up and threw them into the recycle bin. Unfinished pieces could be tossed out, but completed works would have to be kept whether they made sense or not. Keen had to do something, tell someone fast! He ran to the telephone to call maintenance.
“Help! Help!” Keen yelled into the phone. “Someone must come immediately; the great Inditionater is blowing up! It’s spewing pieces all over the belt and if they get longer than two components we’ll have to keep them!”
Someone on the other end assured him that help was on the way.
“Bring tools! Bring lots of tools!” He yelled into the phone before hanging up. Keen scurried back into the production room and looked balefully at the great machine.
The Inditionater was a miracle of technology. Big as a football field, full of great tubes, cogs, wheels and steaming cabinets. There were bells and whistles, cords, ventilation shafts and lots of duct work. A huge shaft surrounded by a cottony material descended from the ceiling in the center of the room, it looked for all the world like a tornado. All of these components joined to make the end product. A word. An addition to language. A great deal of work went into these words; one couldn’t just spit out consonants and vowels and expect to make something coherent, obviously.
No, a word had to make sense. It had to work within the time frame it would be used, as words could and did fade from fashion and use all the time. It had to sound right; you couldn’t use a frivolous sounding thing like slubbery to describe Parliament now could you? A word had to be proper and the only way to make words was to feed the correct elements into the machine and run the program.
You had to be extremely careful, there would be about 6,900 living languages on the earth by the year 2000 and a word created here could conceivably have to be translated by at least a fifth of them. That’s 1380 more words that would then have to be entered into the books. Words could be repeated now and again, but it was best not to let them be translated by languages near to one another or you ended up calling someone’s mother a sow when you intended to compliment their choice of wine. Words simply had to make sense and as long at the Inditionater was working right, everything was fine. Keen went to check the belt again and cried out.
“Oh no, oh no this won’t do!” He saw a fully formed word; it would have to be kept. “Phlebotomy” rolled gently to a stop in a side bin. “Oh no!” Keen felt his blood pressure rising. When the mechanic showed up, dragging a huge tool chest on wheels, Keen fairly exploded.
“Oh! Oh thank heavens!” Keen was wringing his hands repeatedly. “Look here, look at what it made!”
The mechanic took one look and shook his shaggy head.
“Aw, I hate those stupid ‘f’ sounding ph words. No use for ‘em a’ tall.” He said. He dug into a drawer and rummaged around in it. Not finding what he wanted he slammed it shut and dug into another.
“Can’t find….bother….now where did it go…”
The mechanic climbed up a ladder on the wall, which put him in reach of a large pipe which he shimmied across. Standing on the pipe at the other end, he climbed another ladder and then disappeared from view. Keen continued to wring his hands.
“Oh I do hope this works, it must work. It simply must.” The last time the Inditionater broke down it spewed out convoluted words like Antidisestablishmentarianism. I believe we can all see the pretentious using that word to try to look as smart as they wish they were. But since the machine had formed and then finished it, the word became part of the official record and then a definition duly assigned.
Once this occurs the word must be used somewhere. Words that go unused have a tendency to suck other words back out with them when they fade away. For example, no one uses the word chork when talking about their mother’s pot roast, do they? No they do not. It is not chorky, it doesn’t smell chork-full and a meal without a pot roast isn’t chork-less…but it used to be.
The mechanic swore as he hit something overhead in the maze of pipes and ducts. The Inditionater banged and whizzed and the rollers started rolling. It wasn’t long before more letters began to form.
“Oh! Oh no, this is worse! It’s hemorrhaging letters! Oh, please do something fast! The alphabet is only supposed to be 16 letters long, make it stop!”
The mechanic banged a great deal on some metal part up there and the machine gave a great heave. Then it stopped altogether. All that could be heard was some hissing and a few clanks. The mechanic climbed back out of the machine, shimmied back across the pipe and crawled back down the ladder. He stood before Keen, who was by now quite red in the face and seeing little black spots on the edges of his vision.
“Let her sit for about five minutes Doc, then start ‘er up again. Had to replace the squidges and reset the whole system.”
Keen looked around the room, and back to the belt with its extra letters, fully formed. There were ten of them.
“Do you realize what this means? There are ten more letters! The largest language that man will ever know has almost doubled its letter base and, oh.” He shook his head sadly. “The grammar rules are already in place, now there will be more and stranger additions to the language. Why, participles will dangle. Infinitives will be split!” He shook his head sadly.
The mechanic packed up his tools and looked back at Keen on his way out. “They’ll figure it out Doc, they always do.”
A few minutes later Keen hit the big green button on the wall, and the great Inditionater fired up. He gave it several minutes and went to the conveyor belt, anxiously awaiting the first word. He could see the edges of it back in there, below the painters and dryers. It rolled slowly forward…he could see the first letter…W….i….t.l.i.n.g. Did it say wilting? No, witling. Ooh, good word.