In 1910, printer Victor Appleton launched the first in the series of Tom Swift books of fiction aimed at boys enchanted by science and technology.
By the millions, readers worldwide were lavish in their celebration. Cultivated critics were not. Largely owing to the author’s (or authors’) adverbial promiscuity, the literary luster was destined to dim.
Yet, the mid-fifties gave rise a kind of mocking renaissance. The peculiar stylistic excesses of the Swift series had ignited a brief epidemic of a oral game- playing by the word nerds of the day. The name of the game: Swifties.
Alas, inevitably Swifties were soon hoisted up to the attic of all-but-forgotten ephemera such as mahjong, Erica Jong and John Holmes’s schlong, all rages now respectively shrouded in dust, rust and, well, crust, I imagine.
My self-appointed calling here is scrape off the corrosion, WD-40 the paralyzed parts and restore Swifties into the mainspring to 21sr century distraction.
After decades of wearing a mourning veil., I now – swelled with weeping pride—unveil examples in two movements: Trump Swifties and and Other Swifties:
“Pass my second helping of pancakes,” whispered Donald Trump, surreptitiously.
“That Russian tape reported in the Steele dossier is a hoax,” said Donald Trump, peevishly.
“I know nothing about any $130,000 payment. Ask Michael Cohen about it.” shouted Donald Trump, stormily.
“Joe Shapiro? Connected to my Wharton School entrance? Never heard of him.” huffed Donald Trump, testily.
“I did not violate any of those 12 or 13 women,” asserted Donald Trump, forcefully.
“ I can push that red button any time I want,” boasted Donald Trump, bombastically.
“I’m not going to any inauguration,” said Donald Trump, unceremoniously,
“Duplicate what Michelle says? I do not. I do not. I do not.” echoed Melania, slovenly.
“What pandemic? What inauguration? What insurrection? Let’s keep golfing.” Said Donald Trump, absently.
“Healthy diet? Exercise? Pschaw!” scoffed Donald Trump, fatuously.
“ No, Kanye, it has not gotten too big,” disagreed Kim, sternly.
“I shall make this Caliban character most savage and deformed,” said Shakespeare, tempestuously
“This phony Bengazi accusasion is getting me down,” said Hillary, disconsolately.
“Yet another cancellation?” moaned Yo Yo Ma, disconcertedly.
“So I like beer. So sue me.” Said Brent Kavanaugh discourteously,
“What iceberg?” guffawed the Titanic captain, recklessly “Nothing to those rumors,” chuckled Roy Cohn, gaily.
“ I’ll soon find another bride, “ said Prince Rainier, gracelessly.
“It’s a great piece of concert music, George, but think of how much greater it would be with a lyric ,” cooed Ira Gershwin, rhapsodically.
“No, I did not copy anybody else’s style”, insisted Bob Dylan, woodenly.
“How can you book my lecture at such an ungodly hour?”cried Richard Dawkins, disbelievingly.
“My sister Vanessa? Yes, she’s a very good player,” said Serena, backhandedly
“Sorry, Meghan, but I think our boy’s pretty homely,” said Prince Harry, archly.
“I sure faked out that goalie,” said Wayne Gretzky, puckishly.
“I’m so famished, I could eat the star of our movie,” said Harper Lee, peckishly.
I think my book may be too long,” said Voltaire, candidly.
“You’ve put just the right amount of parmesan on the pasta,” exclaimed Julia Child, gratefully
“I think you might have stepped on my toes again,” whispered Fred Astaire, gingerly.
“That Prairie style of yours is too expensively self- indulgent. When are you going to learn that less is more?” scolded Mies Van Der Rohe, frankly.
“Philately will get you nowhere,” thought the young stamp collector’s family, collectively.
“Oh, my gosh, he jumped from the top of that high rise,” she said ruefully.
“Sorry, though I dislike camping, I absolutely hate sleeping under the stars, “she said, intently.
“This is a terrible Pina Colada,” she complained dolefully.
“ I wish I had been born with a normal sixed one,” complained John Holmes, longingly,
Why can’t we move to England so I can drive?” complained the conjoined twin,, beside herself.
(I know. I know. This may not be strictly an adverb, but I fancied it enough to slip it in through the servant’s entrance,)
As for you, I think you’re ready to start stitching some 21st-century adverbial embroidery– with relatives, friends, neighbors or anybody else you can corral into an evening of Swifties. Hopefully, if not eagerly.
As for me, I think I’m done here, Finally.
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