An aspiring author confronts the literary demons of the world and sets off in search of an agent.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

An Extremely Dangerous Word

Armageddon. Apocalypse. Cataclysm. These are words used to describe the end of the world and while they invoke images of doomsday, the words themselves are harmless. You can say them as often, and whenever you want, and no devastation will occur.

There is, however, another word, a most unlikely word, if misused, could result in total annihilation. The word: tattarrattat. Originally coined by James Joyce, it is believed to be the longest palindrome in the English language. It is also an onomatopoeia.  You may say the word once, but take the greatest care not to repeat it too many times.


An upcoming article in the prestigious scientific journal, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, reveals the terrifying findings of a recent study.  The prominent physicist, Helvetica Edison,  while conducting research at the Large Hadron Collider, happened upon a strange quirk involving palindromic onomatopoeias – words that are simultaneously palindromes and onomatopoeia. The discovery, he noted, “frightened me to the core of my being.” If you were to recite a word such as tattarrattat a thousand or more times in a row, the world would come to an end.  Edison’s calculations demonstrated that a rip in the fabric of the space/time continuum was highly probable and the resulting black hole would swallow the earth.

“The odds of any one person being able to correctly pronounce tattarrattat a thousand times consecutively is extremely low, but it only has to happen once – and poof! – we’re toast.”

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