One hour a day, five days a week, for multiple decades, London's Lucy had the world by its lobes. The most venerable of the quodlibetical's, "The Word" had been on the air so long few living creatures could remember a time before the sound of her voice. Decades ago Lucy left her BBC broadcasting throne to chase love across the pond. Bringing her Oxford education along with her 21 volumes of Oxford English Dictionary in tow. As thrilling as it seemed to be one of the chosen broadcasting few, it didn’t take Lucy long to get tired of the stifling accommodation that is the limitations of the non-British listening public's broken vocabulary. With compassion, disgust, and certitude, Lucy would occasionally bait the audience to the dictionary by tossing a few gems out like fungible or roman a clef. As terrific as she felt seeing her word chum become parlance, her appetite was vast. So vast, Lucy secretly secured payola for product placement from dictionary publishers to funnel funds into the coffers of her own personal On Air Grammarian. Globally worshiped by Anglo-logophiles, she single-handedly crafted a radio soap box empire built on vocabulary driven content.
Talking to millions of listeners a day Lucy never had any doubts about deserving her Grammarian, being an inveterate Logophile, shepherding cultural shifts in language was why she was born. She was On Air the first hour on the first Monday of every month, with Grammarian in tow.
Beautiful as the day is long, Lucy had an interview style made for radio. In her defense, she just went from a lifetime of coke bottle glasses to perfect coming and going Lasik corrected corneas. Just the weight of her old glasses alone would be reason enough not to lift her head out of the text. Before shaved eyeballs, Lucy could barely get close enough to see her list of prepared questions. She lived in fear of adlibbing away from the text, never looked up past the next question, never risked losing her place on the page. But today was different; today was the first day she could see without the aid of glasses. With one eyeball fixed for reading and the other eyeball corrected for distance, today she could see like she never could see before. Shazam.
Sans glasses, Lucy felt light-headed, as if she had strings laced through her earlobes tied to helium-filled balloons. One day, like magic, Lucy started reading a book with one eye, with the other eye focused at the far end of the room watching, reruns of Julia Childs cleaning an eel.
People say the human brain is designed to do one thing at a time. What the hell do they know? It was no surprise to Lucy as to how smart she was; she just chalked it up to knowing she had a left brain and a right brain.
Back at the Radio Station - Intro Music - The Beatles singing - "The Word".
It's the 1st hour of the first Monday of the month, that Swiss clock moment when Lucy's house Grammarian is on parade. Slave to the ON Air sign, making her way to the mic, Lucy introduces her grammar expert, generously listing his word porn accomplishments. Continuing her boilerplate intro, dedicating today's show like every 1st Monday's show to all that is the English language and all its quirky manifestations. Executed without skipping a beat, with style and composure. A Show of Shows that only empiric decades of talent could produce. A caliber of seasoned professionalism by which all other shows could only hope to be judged.
So Mr. Grammarian what do you have for us today?
Well Lucy, today we'll start with "nonplussed" and continue by discussing if "plussed" is even a word " and if it isn't a word why not and to exhaust the topic, we'll be dipping into our old friend the OED, see what it has to say and then kill it with listener phone calls to hear what they have to add about the word "plus".
The babbling guff raised an eyebrow, leading Lucy to swing her distance eyeball at him. Cold pause, followed by complete shock, Lucy says to herself, "Lucy you are talking to a fish in a bowl. An ugly lissome logophile loach in a fish bowl. Incessantly chatting away about nonplussed vs. plussed. Really. Wait a fucking second - I Lucy the venerable, am interviewing, said interviews broadcasted everywhere, for the first time in decades I'm realizing - I've been talking to a fucking fish. Is this really happening to me while I'm on the air? Lucky for Lucy she had two brains, with brain number one she could continue the interview while using brain number two to talk to herself about losing her mind. Lucy say's to her inner Lucille (Lucille-an easily remembered name she gave to brain number two) "Listen to me Lucille it is imperative not to lose our fucking minds especially while we're on the air! Lucille takes a stab at mitigating and says to Lucy "as fuckity as this situation seems; we were not deceived, everybody assumed we knew we were talking to a fish." Lucy's brain lobes start oscillating full tilt sanguine ashen sanguine ashen sanguine ashen sanguine ashen sanguine ashen. Not wanting to have her sense of shocked deception exposed, she spills her glass of water on the floor, kicks off a shoe, mops up the water with her sock then sticks her big toe in a nearby electric socket to defibrillate her uncontrollable brains' spasms. A Rube Goldbergian reality check - commonly practiced by tenured broadcasters.
Distracted by the indignity of wet sock, Lucy hurried the segment to a respectable end. Not wanting to lose sight of this watermark moment, for the first time ever Lucy strolls over to Larry the grammarian loach and with the sincerest of voice, "Larry, thank you so much for such a delicious show. After all these years don't you think its time you let me take you out, how about an early dinner." Waiting patiently twenty years for this invite, only momentarily nonplussed, Larry the Lissome Logophile Loach wiggled his body into a blushing heart shape. No longer able to contain himself he lost it for Lucy and started screaming, "Yes, Oh God Lucy, Yes, Lucy, Yes, Yes, Yes."
Leaving the station with bowl in tow, uncharacteristically quiet, Lucy hits the Avenue, quickly turns east down the street to her favorite pescatarian eatery "Fruita di Mare". Lucky Lucy catches the chef on his cigarette break, hands him the bowl. Nods and says, "clean." Walking faster now as she turns the corner she could hear Larry whaling "Lucy come back I love you, Lucyyyyyyyy come back I love youuuuuu. Laughing to herself she says "Larry Baby, We'll be feasting our eyes on each other in about 20 minutes, I love you too."
Feeling emotionally distant but strangely replete, Lucy awakes from her radio-lucent dream to the smell of coffee and the sound of the Quahog's honey coated throat, broadcasting NPR's Monday, Quodlibetical Moments-Daybreak Edition.
"Good morning, we're beginning today's show with the New England's Journal of Medicine two-part lifestyle report on the plusses and minuses of LASIK eye surgery, in connection with the Journal's continuing discussion of Ambien driven somnambulant seafood bingeing, the leading cause of dyspeptic driven nightmares."
Not knowing what to rub first her eyes or her belly, she walks down the hall into the bathroom and sits... Flushing last nights anxieties away she starts to think about the lucky new Grammarian she'll be debuting on today's show. Lucy walks back down the hall scratching her head, looking for her slippers, trying to remember last nights dream.