Reprint 2003 by Gabe Ets-Hokin
Los Angeles (AP). Disaster relief officials announced here Tuesday that United Nations aid workers would begin airlifting emergency supplies of adjectives, pronouns and adverbs to idea-impoverished motorcycle journalists decimated by years of concept drought.
The first shipments of supplies, in the form of crates packed with synonyms for the word “acceleration” was air-dropped by Royal Netherlands Air Force C-130s on Monday evening. Police forces were called in to quell crowds of magazine and website staffers battling for handfuls of the long-awaited words.
“This is wonderful”, said one emaciated writer, choking back tears as he shoveled clumps of tiny black characters into the gaping maw of his I-Book. “I really thought my career was over. How many times can you use the phrase ‘stump-pulling torque’ and get away with it?”
The disaster relief was much needed by a region of the Los Angeles basin inhabited mostly by small bands of nomadic motorcycle, ATV and automotive journalists.
“Once, the southern Los Angeles basin was teeming with colorful groups of journalists who thrived on a vibrant publishing economy,” said Lance Holstein, author of The Fat and the Slow: a History of Motorcycle Journalists, “but two decades of corporate publishing mergers, cable TV, and the senseless violence of tire shootouts and middleweight sportbike wars have taken their toll. Few of these proud, fierce people remain to roam the twisty ribbons of asphalt that make up their native habitat.”
Although over 30,000 tons of verbiage have been promised by donor nations, the aid may be a case of too little, too late. The local highways are littered with the bloated, desiccated corpses of motorcycle journalists, killed by the repetitive boredom of reporting on the same stories year in and year out. Constant use of phrases like “parts bin engineering”, “blistering top-gear acceleration” and “telepathic steering” have left a once-vibrant culture a burnt-out shell filled with shambling, zombie-like creatures.
Some experts feel the emergency relief may do more harm than good.
“You need to let this population stabilize,” said John LeMarke, a local biologist who studies automotive journalists, tennis pros, reality TV producers and other Southern California wildlife. “By handing out sustenance in the form of imported adjectives and concepts, you create a dependence on this foreign nutrition source. The population will expand, causing even greater tragedy and loss of native creatures when the sources dry up. If we let this population stabilize by fighting for the remaining pool of words and ideas, only the strongest, heartiest of the journalists will survive, ensuring good genetic stock for the next generation.”
Still, the idea-famine victims were clearly grateful for the assistance.
“I don’t know what ‘traction de troncon’ means” said one cycle mag editor, clad only in a pair of torn and faded Aerostitch trousers and clutching a sack stenciled ‘UNITED NATIONS EMERGENCY ADJECTIVE AID’. “But whoever sent it, God bless you.”