Monday, July 21, 2014

Byron and Shelley and the Missolonghi Angelos

When Byron was working part-time as a reporter for the Missolonghi Angelos, he would invariably report on events that occurred in other countries by sifting through over a dozen reports from foreign news agencies (AP, UPI, Bloomberg, Dow Jones, and others) and combining them into a weekly column entitled News The Rest Of The World Thinks Is Important.  It was a masterpiece of summation, written with that charming air of wit and derision for which Byron was so well-renowned.

It so happened that, after appearing in the first week of February, the column was absent from the Angelos for the next three weeks, by the end of which time the Angelos editors were inundated by outraged subscribers demanding to know why the column had been discontinued.

“But it has not been discontinued,” Byron confessed to Shelley one night at the beginning of March.  “The plain truth is that I can no longer compose it.  I put pen to paper and the words do not come.”

“But how is that possible,” Shelley asked, “when you have such a Gift for impromptu Cleverness?” 

“Alas,” Byron replied, “my gift is of a conversational nature.  Put me in a room with a crowd of strangers and I am the verbal light that shines on all of ‘em.  Force me to speak one-on-one with a single soul and my wit dries up till I am dim.”

“And what does that have to do with your Column?” Shelley asked.

“The Angelos has been feeling the financial pinch of late,” Byron explained, “so it has not only cut back on its staff and production, it has additionally cancelled all but one of its subscriptions to foreign news agencies.  Where once I had over a dozen voices to summarize, I now have only one, originating from England of all places, and try as I might, the words will not come when I attempt to compose an article based on its contents.”

“You mean?” Shelley asked.
“Yes,” said Byron sadly.  “I have Reuters block.”

Copyright 2014 Matthew J Wells

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