Friends and loved ones often ask me how I write newspaper articles. They point out my crappy spelling, my shoddy grammar, and my general lack of talent. But to them I say, screw you guys, I passed the ELPE. And then do a little dance in my tutu singin' the French National anthem. That usually shuts them up.
For those unfamiliar with the English Language Proficiency Test, read another article.
Anyhoot, the best part of the ELPE was asking people about their OAC English marks. The standard answer: "Oh, 79.4, missed it by that much." Right. For once I'd like some dude or dudette to be truthful and say "OAC English, oh yeah that bird course. My mark? 17.5% but it was rounded to 18. Teacher said I made great strides since Christmas." Honesty rules in my book.
The second best part of the ELPE? The topics. They were classics. "If you were a shrub, which one would it be." I give them the 3-b stamp of disapproval: boring, banal, and bull (lots of it). Why couldn't the essay topics be something more relevant: "If Godzilla, King Kong, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Keanu Reeves were in a steal cage match at Wrestlemania who'd win the WWF belt. Please justify your response with examples — in English." Now that's what I'm talkin' about.
The third best part of the ELPE? Actually writing a passable essay. This is where all those years of book learning can finally pay off! Everyone wants to use the fanciest smanciest words to create that illusion of verbosity. They're foolin' no one. I bet in most thesauruses the last 3 or 4 synonyms for each word were made up by some poor shmuck, who decided to thumb his nose at the masses. Take the word "titillation" for instance. That's gotta be fake. It's got "tit" in it for crying out loud. You think dude at the editorial board meeting kept a straight face when he lobbied vociferously for that one:
"Ah, yeah, I got this word titillate. Yes, I said titillate. I think it should be a synonym for 'excite,'" said the word man smugly.
"Really Bob, and I bet you think kumquat should be a fruit of the citrus family, right?"
(As an aside, the 5th annual Kumquat Festival is in Dade City, Florida on January 26th 2002. More information can be found at www.dadecitychamber.org/kumquat.
And that's the story of the kumquat. Sorry, off on a little tangent there. So all I'm saying is that people shouldn't fear the ELPE. Instead, they should view it as an opportunity to spew the most drivel one can humanly spew in an hour. I did and look where it got me.