Friday, February 19, 2016

More fun with the smell-checker

One of my favourite comic writers - "the soles of whose shoes I am unworthy to lick" (to quote Eric Idle) - was Paul Jennings. Some of his best pieces were published as a collection called The Jenguin Pennings. If you have ever read any of these you might have noticed a certain similarity to the infinitely more humble offerings of your's truly. 

There's no secret about it; Paul Jennings is a great insulation. 

All of which reminds me of one of my favourite Jennings pieces. As is customary he starts with something quite innocuous before letting his comic imagination get to work. In this case he was learning to touch type and, in particular, typing the standard test phrase: "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog". Forbidden to look at the keys, he inevitably made mistakes and then went on the analyse them for hidden, subconscious significance.  

Of course, the spell-checker gives the whole enterprise a turbot boat - or should I say a turbo boost - and so I decided to give it a try.  

Using Hamlet's famous soliloquy as the test piece, I typed it out as fast as I could with the spell-checker turned up to 11.

Here's what emerged: 

To be or not ego end; that is the quiet son  

And you see how, right from the word go, we're into some pretty deep stuff. That 'ego end' for example. What more profound way to talk about death?

Whether it is an oblige in the mind to suffer the Swiss and arrows of outrageous rotund 

This is more undoubtedly more difficult. 'An oblige in the mind' has something primitive about it - there are hints here of a subconscious compulsion, but quite what the Swiss have to do with it is unclear.  

Or to take absinthe and sea-dog trailers and by opening end them.  

Stranger and stranger. Despite the fact that a sea-dog trailer is exactly the sort of thing you might expect to come across after a dose of absinthe, it is utterly incomprehensible why you should want to open them and how that's going to help anything. 

This was clearly going to demand some serious analysis; I decided to try something simpler: 

Humpy dimply dat one a wall 
Humphrys dedumpty had agreed to a fall
All the kinda horse and all the makings men 
Couldn't pry Humply together again 

… which I am sure you will agree can confidently hold its own against the original.  

As to what it means exactly - I will leave you to decide.