Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Kittens Are Cute

The editor looked at the box full of kittens on his desk. "Do you understand the difference between an adverb and an adjective now?"

Ten large eyes stared back at him silently. "This is a very important distinction," his voice boomed around the small room. "An adverb modifies a verb, an adverb, an adjective, a phrase or a clause. It generally ends in 'ly,' like gently, happily, etc. An adjective modifies a noun or pronoun by describing, identifying or quantifying words. Understand?"

The ten eyes blinked, then blinked again. The kittens' tiny eyelids were beginning to droop.

"Now, now," the editor chided. "We haven't even begun to discuss AP style. Do you know that all time must be labeled with the numeral and a.m. and p.m., not am and pm? 12 p.m. is noon, 12 a.m. is midnight. Write today, yesterday or Wednesday, not Today, March 15."

One of the kittens yawned. The other one swatted his brother's ear. One kitten tried to stand up and flopped on his butt. He decided it was too much effort to get up and stayed there.

"Onto titles!" the editor cried happily, the kittens looking up at the noise. "Courtesy titles are not used. Only government official titles are used, but may be abbreviated in certain circumstances such as--- are you listening?"

The kitten batting at the shredded box looked at him with large blue eyes. One of the kittens managed to crawl out of the box, then deciding he didn't like the texture of the paper on the desk, spent the next ten minutes trying to crawl back in.

"It's no use!" the editor groaned, his head hitting the desk. "No one cares. No one has journalistic integrity anymore. No one cares about grammar or style!"

The kittens started at his yelling. One reached out a paw to bat a wayward clump of hair. Slowly, one by one, the kittens began to mew loudly.

"Mew! Mew! Mew! MEEWWW!" they cried, staring at the editor with pitiful eyes.

"You're right," the editor said, stroking the kittens. "It'll be all right. Journalism as we know it will succeed and continue to be classy and truthful."

The kittens' mewing increased. The editor sighed and lifted the kittens onto the floor, then pulled a quart of milk from the mini-fridge. "Here you go," he said, smiling as they lapped up the milk. "Even if you would make horrible journalists, you sure are cute."

The kittens paused, then continued to lap up the milk. They knew they were cute. They had whiskers and large eyes. What took him so long to figure that out?