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The Tragic Consequences of Wordplay

The following letter was found by paramedics beneath the unnamed victim’s crumpled body. It is reproduced here not to shock anyone but so that some good will come from it.

Today’s children should be taught not to play with words. I learned it the hard way and too late. Perhaps some can learn from my mistakes.

It began innocently in grade school. A friend whispered that “radar” was spelled the same backward and forwards. All I could say was “wow.” It seemed innocent enough at the time, but I did not realize then that palindromes were considered by some to be the gateway drug of wordplay.

As I aged, my habit grew. I hungered for word games but my parents were in denial. They looked the other way when I insisted that I had to have a racecar and a kayak for my birthday. Mom found crossword magazines under my mattress. She believed me when I said I just looked at the pictures. Dad caught me playing Scrabble behind the barn with Mary. He said I was lucky Mom didn’t see it because it would break her heart. He could have stopped me then and there, but he did not want to confront it. He just walked away muttering, “boys will be boys.”

I got through high school and college despite my growing love for words. I got married and landed a job. I had late nights prowling reference.com but I was not letting it impact work. Then I discovered anagrams.

I thought I could control it. Now I was the one in denial.

First little phrases slipped out. I called my SUPERVISOR a VIRUS SPORE. When asked how to get to the HUMAN RESOURCES office, I said the MANURE CHORUSES were on the third floor.

I told my coworkers the DEPARTMENT HEADS were just trying to appease us when they began to ADAPT NERD THEMES. Their objective was to MANDATE HERD STEP.

I knew I had to stop before it was too late. My friends even forced me into going to one of those twelve-step programs. I attended one meeting but did not hear a thing that was said as I tried in vain to work out an anagram for “twelve.”

Tonight I began to play SimCity, hoping to avoid words altogether. Unfortunately, the game’s MODULAR TOWNS came to mind. That was when it happened. I was playing with the words as I had so many times before.  This time I went too far. In my overconfidence I got reckless. The words went off in my hand. The result was MORTAL WOUNDS.

Now I am dingy. I mean I am dying. A childish indiscretion led to a life of addiction and a tragic accident. Even now as my life is ebbing away, I lie here thinking of how I could fit at least one spoonerism and still express the date of my death in a chronogram.

Learn from me. Never play with words. It will always get you in

The End

Published inarts? fine

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