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Positive Sinking

Wrap It Up and Spit It Out

By Akshay Patil
COLUMNIST

Ashkay,

Here is some alliteration for you: “...about absolutely anything AT ALL amusing...” Come on, was it all that hard?

-- Abe

You know, I’m usually a pretty easy guy to please. I was all ready to like you: you sent e-mail to sinking@ and you seem genuinely dedicated to the task of making this a better column. This love, this adoration, all of it, is lost because you spelled my name wrong.

Send me insults, tell me the column sucks, throw feces from your roof at your children, but for heaven’s sake, don’t spell my name wrong.

Is it really that hard? I mean, you probably skim over it once a week as you throw darts at my column. Or maybe you could have done a little fingering action with my last name to set things straight. Or, in a moment of lazy hesitation, you could have just addressed me as “Positive Sinking,” “You there,” “what’s-your-face,” or something equally witty.

But no. You had to brazenly type my name with two -- count them, two -- inversions (you know, the number of swaps bubble sort would have to do in order to rearrange your eye-sore to its proper form... ok, that’s not funny, but let’s see you be funny after large amounts of coding. It’s not easy, lemme tell ya. You start thinking things like “my @sorted1 = sort {sigComp($a, $b)} @{(shift)};” are terribly clever when, in fact, they aren’t. Anyways, having amused the grand total of three readers who actually understand that, let’s get back to the berating).

Actually, I don’t feel like ragging on you any more. Because deep down, I’m a nice person. And even deeper down, I’m not wearing underwear.

While you are the first to e-mail sinking@ in a dyslexic state, you are certainly not the first to e-mail or refer to me by that abominable nominal permutation. Just don’t do it again. No tote/plastic bag for you. Moving on...

Sir Akshay,

What does “no bones about it” mean? Do you think it has anything to do with Yale and/or the teen slasher craze of the 90s?

-- Tchi

Wow, I’m definitely liking this e-mail better. Not only is the name right, but I’m “sir” me. Makes me feel like spelling things British.

Not that I don’t already, but usually word processors change it back into the traditional American English before I even move on the next word. Because I don’t feel like turning auto-correct off, all you readers at home are going to have to use your imagination to figure out how half of these words were spelt (ohhh, you like that? archaic British spelling of “spelled,” that’s the sort of witty tricks that don’t win you anything, really) before my computer decided I was illiterate.

And after that, try crossing your eyes, and the 3-D penguin will pop out of this column’s text. Isn’t technology amazing?

So I was sitting on the john the other day thinking to myself “hmm... that guy that invented the toilet partition must be a millionaire.” And then I thought “but maybe there’s a better way to organize toilets in the bathroom, like, change the way we partition them. Maybe we could stack em?” I think I got a multi-million dollar idea here. What do you think?

-- The Dude

As you’re probably well aware, many of history’s greatest ideas were thought on the toilet. Einstein was particularly well known for his prolonged and frequent bowel movements. The guy who came up with sliced bread? That’s right, he was a toilet tester. You could be next, my friend. Pursue your dream, I tell you. I’d offer to help you, but I don’t want to be around when something goes wrong and the you-know-what hits the fan. And by fan, I mean the poor sap in the stall underneath.

Well, that’s my momma. Join us next term for more sinking in the positive direction. And while you’re eating, sleeping, globe trotting, mountain skiing, bridge diving, sun soaking, or bathroom going, think of all (one) of us here at sinking@mit.edu and send us an e-mail about whatever it is that’s tickling you in the back of you head... right next to the left ear, no no lower... to the left... harder... oh yeah, that’s the stuff.