To Whom It May Concern: When Was This Ever a Good Idea?

So this prompt just had to come when I’m scouting for useful quotations in Altered Carbon. The first word on page 29 that stands out, pun very much intended, is “hard-on”, because the protagonist has just informed us that he was “swinging a hard-on like a filled fire hose”. Just for the record, this is sci-fi, not porn. I appreciate that you keep the readers informed, however I wonder if you cringe if a woman mentions her period. “My underpants presented a picture not unlike the first Biblical plague. My kingdom for a tampon!, I thought.”

I’m being besieged by penis here. This comes hot on the heels of a class that discussed Lacan and Derrida’s critique of Lacan’s concept of the phallo-logocentric Symbolic order and the order of the phallus. Which made me giggle like hell because it sounds like a porn parody of a Harry Potter movie. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phallus!

So I’m using the very first word on the page. It’s “when”.

Dear When,

thank you for being one of the more flexible words of the English language. Do you know how awesome it is that you can be an adverb, a conjunction, a pronoun and even a noun? And you can start questions! That’s pretty rad! Was there ever a time when you did not do a good job, When? How many kids have you inspired, how many have started whole long-winded rants with “When I grow up”? Was there ever a time when you wanted to give up? No, When, you just kept on going. And look at your sleek new style! I remember when you used to be Hwanne, but you completely transformed yourself. Since when has this been going on? You look nothing like your German cousin Wenn anymore. You go, When. Thanks for being part of the where and when.

xoxo,

an admiring half-linguist

 

P.s.: Dear fiction writers, if you could stop sending us notes from your protagonists’ boners that would be great. No love, me.

 

P.p.s.: To whom it may concern, your mum.

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