Uploaded by Vonda Crosby

Oxymora exercise

Oxymora can be Pretty Ugly
By Dan Maley
"Don't you know what an oxymoron is?" my editor asked with a sneer.
"Sure I do," I said, "It's a…"
"It's a contradiction in terms," he said. "And I don't think you'd know
one if you tripped over it. For example, in your last column you wrote about
jumbo shrimp. How can it be jumbo if it's a shrimp?"
"I bet you can't write a single column without oxymorons."
"Never mind. I'll run whatever you write. If there are no oxymora, I'll
give you $100. But if you use any I'll put every one in italics so all our
readers will know what a dolt you are. Do you accept the bet?"
"Of course."
How could I resist? An editor and his money are soon parted.
Now then… I guess I'll just write about what I did last Saturday.
I woke up in my mobile home and got ready to do some shopping. I put on
some tight slacks because you never know who you might meet at the store.
Then I hopped in my Dodge Ram pickup and headed down to the grocery
store. There I bought some nondairy creamer, plastic silverware, white
chocolate, Aunt Jemima Light, a mild abrasive to clean my sink and a
replacement tube for my burned-out black light.
Then I wheeled my buggy over to the frozen food aisle to get some
seafood. (It's cold as Hades there!) I didn't buy any shrimp this time
(hah!); I bought fresh frozen fish instead. Next I headed to the new mall,
that huge post-modern structure on the north side of town next to the
industrial park. I went into the music store to get some CDs because they
were having their first annual back-to-school sale. I thought about buying a
country album by one of those New Traditionalists or maybe the latest
alternative best seller.
I even considered buying an album by that comedian who has had such a
meteoric rise in show business because of his unusual routine. I heard he
went to an exclusive public school in England on an athletic scholarship.
I settled on a live recording of a group I had heard on the local light rock
radio station. It's awfully good.
Next I took the down elevator to the bookstore, where I like to browse
the magazine rack. I couldn't resist picking up a left-wing political journal
that had an article about the negative growth of the economy. After a brief
survey of American history since the Civil War, the author drew the initial
conclusion that the climbing deficit is due to spending on wasteful defense
projects like the Peacekeeper missile. He even had the nerve to bring up the
issue of friendly fire during the Gulf War.
The man is clearly confused. Although I never generalize, it's my
unbiased opinion that the free market can exist only when an aggressive
defense and a respect for business ethics ensure the right to pursue our
enlightened self-interest.
Then I couldn't resist picking up one of those trashy tabloids because of
the barely dressed woman on the cover. I read that a poll found that fully
half of American nonworking mothers would take jobs as lady wrestlers if
they could keep it a secret from their husbands. Although I think that's
relatively true, it's old news.
There was also an article with some pretty graphic language about a man
who was found missing from a work party in Australia. Authorities think
he's a suicide victim, but so far the only evidence is hearsay. At least his
widow is collecting death benefits.
While I was lost in the reading material I noticed a pronounce silence in
the store. It wasn't even remotely obvious to me that it was closing time. I
was pretty embarrassed, but I tried to act natural.
So that was my oxymoron-free Saturday. I'll take my $100 now.
Mr. Editor should know better than to challenge my journalistic integrity.
Good grief! Does he think I'm functionally illiterate?
Dan Maley is entertainment editor at The Macon Telegraph.