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No small career

How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about (arithmetic), and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone?

G.K. Chesterton


We give no quarter with these criminal music puns


Not that my household needs much of an excuse to start a punning war. But this story that happened across Facebook recently was too, too much to resist.

Music Teacher Caught Selling Tubas for Drug Money


As I announced: “Music teacher hits a new low: Steals tuba to sell for heroin. May the punning commence.”

So, saved for posterity and your amusement, our Facebook exchange:

  • Jon Swerens Also accused of trying to score some blow. #2punsin1
  • Joe Carlin Her bass instincts sunk her to a new low. Call in the brass & march her off to jail.
  • Mary E. Swerens String ‘em up!
  • Jon Swerens Boy, is she in treble with the law.
  • Mary E. Swerens She needed to drum up some money…
  • Jon Swerens … but the cops snared her.
  • Mary E. Swerens #rimshot
  • Sarita R. Swerens Tubad I don’t know much about music, I’d be making some puns.
  • Jon Swerens It’s a felony to be caught with a band substance.
  • Jon Swerens By pleading, she staved off a harsh sentence.
  • Mary E. Swerens Who orchestrated this plan, anyway??
  • Jon Swerens That would be the key to the case.
  • Jon Swerens Hate to think they’d be trumped-up charges.
  • Jon Swerens At least she got her one sousaphone call.
  • Sarita R. Swerens That one was clef-er. But we can stop harping on about it now?
  • Jon Swerens She’s got a high-powered lawyer from D.C.: Al Coda.
  • Jon Swerens That’s how I woodwinda case.
  • Jon Swerens That’s what you get when you piccolo-life boyfriend.
  • Mary E. Swerens We’re just oboeing our way through this all by ourselves. Where is everyone??
  • Jon Swerens Hope they reed her her rights.
  • Sarita R. Swerens Maybe you should just give it a rest…
  • Mary E. Swerens “…anything you say can and will be used against you in a coda law…”
  • Hope Banks Do you all realize how wonderful you are? I so enjoyed reading these comments. I would try and make a pun but puns are not my forte.
  • Jon Swerens She tried to act natural, but not being too sharp, the police caught her flat-footed, although it was accidental.
  • Sarita R. Swerens I was trying to compose a pun with ‘sharp’, but you stole it. I feel minorly disappointed.
  • Jon Swerens It’s a major bummer, I know.
  • Sarita R. Swerens Your tone denotes sarcasm.
  • Jon Swerens Of course, she’ll get a suspended sentence.
  • Jon Swerens And on that note, with a measure of satisfaction and some concerted effort, we’ll put her behind bars, the perfect finale, a fitting cymbal of justice.

Why Wheeling flipped out: Jealousy, love, and the importance of a good name

Backwoods Wheeling

The Upper Ohio Valley is really, really fired up about that “Criminal Minds” portrayal in its “Blood Relations” episode on April 2. My blog post about the TV show has been read by more than 26,000 people so far, crazy considering Wheeling’s population is not much more than that.

On the opposite side, you’ll find cynics turning a fire hose on the mob with two categories of dismissal:

  • “It’s just a stupid TV show.”
  • “It’s just a stupid city.”

So, those of you who are upset, let’s talk. The Rolling-the-Eyes Set is embarrassed that you care this much. And let’s face it: Have some of you let your anger take control of your faculties? Oh yeah, so maybe consider turning down the heat to a rolling seethe.

But I’ll tell you straight out: I’ll take overreaction and outrage over detachment and disdain any day.

Anger is better than apathy. Anger isn’t good, of course. A lot of people need to grab a PBR and calm down a notch. But your anger shows that you think something is at stake with the portrayal of Wheeling in such an inaccurate way.

Reputation matters:

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1

So, when the city you love is hit with a double-layer crapcake of not only misinformation, but misinformation from an entirely different region, what is that feeling, rising in your soul?

It’s love.

Love is jealous, in that old definition way: “fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions.” Everyone who has lived in Wheeling, or grew up there and now lives elsewhere, can list Wheeling as one of his possessions, as something to protect and be vigilant about.

Ah, you’re ignoring all the problems in Wheeling, say the naysayers.

For right now, yes. Love does that sometimes. But apathy never fixes anything. Apathy is too afraid to care too much, afraid to look ridiculous.

But love is ridiculous. It’s the ridiculousness of the fanboy.

Reject the “cool shaming.” Embrace your love for Wheeling.

Remember, though, that loving a city can be like loving an older brother with a gambling problem. Oh, how he can neglect his duties! He shuns offers of assistance. Sometimes, we have to distance ourselves, just to keep our sanity. But man, we always wish the best for him and cheer for every glimmer of hope.

Also, and very importantly, no one outside the family gets to take a shot at him.

So, writers of “Criminal Minds,” as you fly from coast to coast, I hope you can keep a lesson in mind. This jealous love for our city? This is how true blood relations work.

Photo of downtown Wheeling courtesy of Joseph A on Flickr