The  Tao  of  Virtue

The World's Longest Sentence (5237 words)

by Mark Virtue (1980, aged 15)

Once upon a while back there was an ambitious contortionist who made up his mind he would try to conquer the twenty-seventh highest dead volcano on Neptune, with his tongue secretly hiding behind his overweight postman's Swedish Hi-Fi set and the shoelaces of his Persian Ugh boots stubbornly caught on the corner of the round Toongabbie equestrian sports complex, while he would try to breed miniature brown cicadas inside a quickly rotating water-heater with seven silk pillowcases hanging from his uneducated vacuum cleaner which would be chained around his navel, and ask if his second grand-stepfather has heard of any orange-flavoured Portuguese atomic submarines in the neighbourhood lately that have precisely half of their crews attempting to break the 1958 record for mass voluntary electrocution whilst being sponsored by the dangerous chrysanthemum division of Interflora, who have recently gone bankrupt due to the discovery of an overcrowding of rebellious screwdrivers in the Martian stratosphere last week, when salamanders controlled nine hours forty-seven minutes of the 1978 Pakistani croquet final between the lower Philadelphia fishmonger recruiting officer and Karl Marx's younger brother Harpo, who has not seen his bedroom since the Mexican figure-skating champion booked fourteen tomatoes for exceeding the post-war speed limit and lost his balance whilst trying to hunt abominable snowmen at the Olympics with a soggy sultana hidden inside his chaperone's nightshirt which, in 1947, when John Lennon first washed his face and socks in the same country, had its only steel-plated sleeve melted off by the self-appointed chairman of Doubtful Drainpipes Destruction Company under the New Moscow Harbour Bridge which is, at present, rusting severely, due to a heavy downpour of talcum powder over at Disneyland and also due to sixteen undernourished lizards going into a deep, meditating coma without asking their mothers, who were not about to stand for this caper and sat down immediately, squashing Winston Churchill's scale model of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, which was about to be tested for leakages by the Unemployed Dandelion Research Institution of Dublin, the only city in the Northern Hemisphere to have nine-tenths of its population with an I.Q. less than the average shoe size of the Australian woman, which is seven, but would be more if Neil Armstrong, the best marbles player to walk the surface of the moon, had not decided that he would accept the challenge to be the first and only man to extract his own eardrum while suffering from severe cramps in the left thumbnail, because Franklin D. Roosevelt once put on his coat inside out, which did not seem like a particularly good reason at all, but, considering the fact that the great tennis ball makers' strike of 1904 was, in fact, a fraud, he felt that he could not let the United States of America down who had already bet four buttons and a can of coconut milk on his success and hoped that he would survive the operation which had full, live television coverage by the Ethnic Ethiopians' Broadcasting Commission (E.E.B.C.) in a program with five different commercials showing how to get sperm whales with thick dandruff out of your backyard swimming pool by calling the "sperm Whales with Dandruff in the Backyard Pool Removal Service," who instantly give a free measure and quote, on the condition that the sperm whale to be removed is not suffering from gravel rash, a symptom quite often associated with Outer Mongolian malaria, the only disease in the world except, of course the 'flu, to pass the standards of the Waterloo Water Board, which were introduced six weeks ago because of the invention of shockproof, water-resistant, anti-magnetic, nuclear-explosion-proof sideburn trimmers (the greatest thing since sliced bread), and because of the remembrance of the first Anti-sliced Bread Protest March, which had to be cancelled due to a lack of support on the same afternoon as Norman Gunston's attempt to capture a smart Irishman which, while being unsuccessful, had to be satisfied by a blowfly of about the same intelligence extremely quickly, because the net profit of the experiment had to finance a joint venture between ESSO and BHP in which Norman's aunt's second husband's greengrocer's friend's hairdresser's mother-in-law was to have her false teeth removed by means of voodoo, which is at present practised only by an almost extinct race of politicians found only in the remote valley of Canberra who are trying very hard at the moment to keep the economic sky from falling on to their heads and subsequently avoid a quiet democratic dismissal by the public in a never-ending search for truth, justice and a cheap Christmas dinner which is not surrounded by enormous overheads comprising mostly of a few million dollars profit thrown in for the Artificial Christmas Turkey Company to make the industrial road smoother, and for good old Uncle P.M. in his private, mental straightjacket to tax merrily so as to have enough money to pull his head out of the clouds and his fingers out of his public image money box, which is the largest of its kind in the known world according to the latest annual survey carried out by N.A.S.A., which also showed that there has been a drop in the number of people willing to explain to their bosses why their two-week sick leave lasted nine years and why, when they are rung to be questioned about the reason for this peculiarity, the phone is always answered by a stuttering grandmother trying to persuade the inquirer into thinking there is something wrong with their telephone or that he has been dialling the wrong number for the past eight years eleven and a half months and when, after these possibilities have been overruled on the grounds that the phone was checked last year and that the inquirer has never rung a wrong number before in his life, an elderly vacuum cleaner salesman makes off with the telephone, never to be seen again by anyone alive, except his fellow vacuum cleaner salesmen, who arranged and secretly planned the whole operation without any help whatsoever from Berlin's newly elected Mayor - Mr Jerry Lewis Jnr who received this appointment because of his love of South American curry powder, since the prime ingredients are, of course, peppermint and Manhattan mushrooms, with no artificial flavouring, colouring or preservatives usually found in American suntan lotion worn by most of the population of Miami Beach, where a film appropriately named "The Fourth Return of Son of Son of Jaws XIX" (repeat) is being shot by a team of highly paid, unqualified voluntary producer/directors, who cannot really keep their greedy eyes off the admirable feminine figures that make up practically all of the film's screening time of forty-three hours sixteen and a half-minutes, except for the part where the tedious hero goes into an underwater cavern to search for lost victims of this pathetic shark, which is really half electronics, thought up simultaneously by one hundred and forty-two brigadier-generals, which may seem amazing, but is really nothing compared to the incredible twenty-three cents amassed over seventy-two years of solid devotion by eighty-six members of the Royal Philharmonic Choir in an effort unsurpassed since the year of completion (1978), when an enormous celebration was prepared that turned out to be as difficult to accomplish as dissecting an experimental nuclear warhead with a dried mosquito wing, with the complete collection of Status Quo's albums obstructing the view that is needed to perform this difficult operation, which once, and only once, was performed by the one and only John Smith, who is no relation to John Smith or the other John Smith, well known for his attempt to beat the monstrous rate of inflation by changing the price tag of every retail item in the country, which happened to be a miserable failure because the price tags were so well hidden by the shops concerned that he failed to find more than the six left exposed on the last remaining loaves of bread in the state of Queensland, which he did not buy, leaving them behind for the next seven hundred shopping-mad housewives to tear apart ferociously, trying to get as many crumbs as possible for their starving families waiting in the cars outside hoping for their darling mother's safety for the secret reason that they did not have anything else to do, as the family mother-in-law just passed away and there is a unanimously undecided decision to mourn with deep regret while celebrating joyously, with a mysterious reign of utter confusion governing the whole situation, which is also governed by the "No Small Talk Just Small Print Insurance Brokers", whose business is rapidly increasing because it has just been announced that they have insured Marty Feldman's eyes against normality for $600,000.63, an enormous sum of money, as the "600,000 dollars" part is profit for the insurance brokers, and actually only the "63c" part is the payment really made to poor old Marty, the funniest looking beetle ever to attempt to ski up a steep gravel road with no snow, no skis and his arms and legs tied behind his back since the ex-tap-dancing coach of Dizurted Island escaped from the Federal Penitentiary after serving a sentence nearly as long as this one for actually voting in a federal election, which might have been bad enough, but of course he had to go and make the whole ordeal worse by buying a bus ticket without accusing the bus driver of highway robbery or a similar offence, such as insulting the referee present at the gala day for the premier Czechoslovakian Embroidery Team who were undefeated in the season preceding the present one, where they lost only those two games because the teams they played in those games had decided to be cruel and turn up to compete with them in what is now proclaimed as being the most exciting competition sport in the known world, and special stadiums are rapidly being constructed all around the globe to cater for the millions interested in this fascinating, enthralling and totally mind-blowing spectacle being promoted by bee-sting scratching supervisors all around the world who do not want any new people joining the already overcrowded International Embroidery Association, because already multitudes of over-enthusiastic potential world champions are forgetting their life ambitions and running away to any one of the forty-add thousand clubs belonging to the I.E.A., or beginning new clubs, which is an original concept, but there are still the seventy club houses and gymnasiums being set up in Darwin alone that cannot be forgotten, but seeing that they ARE in Darwin, the club houses are therefore full of people not worth talking about, except for one drunk from (quote) "somewhere out behind that big, red rock by the name of Ayers" (unquote), who believes that the first life form on earth was a bartender, which is a slightly unusual view, but he backs up his argument by saying that the bartender must have been very successful because he had no competition in those days and who else could have begun the idea of forming the multitude of bartenders alive today which this drunk needs constantly but which Alcoholics Anonymous abhors, preferring Real Estate Agents much more, because, according to A.A., a Real Estate Agent - or rather his dog - was the first life form on earth, and that dog's master was not very successful because, although he could sell all the land he could see, he could not actually sell it to anybody, a complication which made him extremely depressed, and he started taking his frustrations out on his dog, who ran away to join a circus - or rather form a circus - because, of course, circuses had not been invented in those days, the days before the ages of watermelons, bread knives, letter openers, curtains, sunflower seeds, and thermo-nuclear disasters that wipe out entire street lights in one blast, a phenomenon which the manufacturers of the dog-repulsers surrounding the bottom of the telegraph poles involved are trying to have abolished, arid the efforts of one man, a Mr It-was-an-Accident-Sir, have contributed enormously to the success of their project which, in fact, was a failure due to the destructive influences of Mr I-Can't-Remember-My-Name Constable, who is also the proud owner of a set of twelve volumes of the International Orange Peel Preserving Encyclopaedia, which he won in a quiz show entitled "How much can you lose in thirty Seconds?", where Mr Constable lost over ninety thousand pounds, to become the night's winner of the worthless encyclopaedia idiocy, which is all a typical example of the heights to which people will go just to say that they have actually won something, even if they did lose more than they won, but nobody hears about that side of the story, except if it was somebody else's fault, which would result in the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, with a few odd lies coming out in a court of suit, very similar to a normal law court, except that in a law court where a murder case is being held, there is a general pandemonium in progress about who killed whom, and why or why not, with a geriatric judge quietly reading girlie magazines whilst some frantically emotional barrister calmly interviews a terrified witness who does not really know what happened and will not tell anyone anyway, because some queer fool of a colleague located next to this apparently brilliant barrister is repeating everything said by the latter with the utmost tedium, a factor of many which end up making the judge resentful, the barrister irritated, the opposing barrister still more irritated and a little furious, the witness not sure what the questions were about in the first place, the jury not sure about what they are doing there anyway, the audience sleepy, the government poorer, and the defendant guilty, a promising prospect for a certain potential murderer who is seriously considering making a full-time trade of depriving a human being of the right to reach senility, but there is a chance of his managing to escape the several thousand loyal policemen, several hundred self-loyal detectives, several million eager members of the general public looking for a scapegoat, several unsuccessful private detectives, and a mother-in-law who is still chasing him for injecting nitro-glycerine into her meat tenderiser in an attempt to make her stop sending him those tasteful beef casseroles which he accidentally fed to his four, once valuable, now paraplegic, German shepherds while trying in vain to remember what Dustin Hoffman gave the United Nations for Christmas in 1958, and at the same time the poor dogs were trying to imagine why their master gave them a bowl with a desk diary in it to drink with their meal and why he was wrapping up a box of water addressed to "The United Nations, c/o Everywhere", which the postman duly collected and lost in the carburettor of his new 1981 Lamborghini, that alone cost £46,000 new, but of course he did not buy this essential component new but second hand for a mere 1,410,000 Lire, because the previous owner wanted a fast sale as he was going abroad, which all goes to show, not that if postmen can afford Lamborghinis then postmen get paid too much, but that Lamborghinis are too cheap and therefore their price should treble so that only doctors, barristers, politicians and milkmen can afford them, in this way separating the rich from the poor in the community, so as a con-man would know with whose wife to become involved in a secret, close relationship lasting about $10,000, or if she really loved him then maybe about £46,000, or 1,410,000 Lire if the current rate of exchange stays stable as long as that, which is very unlikely, because the price of custom-built biorhythms is skyrocketing, due to the increased demand for them by heroin addicts and high-school teachers, who cannot cope with life by themselves, so they have to rent, buy or steal some extra biorhythms just to be able to keep themselves from having a nervous breakdown, or from shaving their legs and spleens, which a lot of them will do because their television told them to, but which a lot of them will do because their horoscope revealed to them that Venus was closer to Jupiter than that day's weather report, so that all Sagittarians would have a tremendous lift in their sex life, and that because the stars of Alpha X-74C-5, or ABCTV-2 were not in view (not counting the fact that a tree was in the way) then all Virgos would undergo a nose transplant, or twenty-four percent of all Geminis would find their true purpose in life at the bottom of a forty-foot snake pit confronted by an arm-wrestling champion, when all that is really going to happen is that astrologers are going to get richer and all the people who believe that their life depends on where a U.F.O. has decided to park are going to get poorer, but if some of them were Americans, then they could probably go on getting poorer indefinitely, seeing that the Americans, with their super-sophisticated technology, their thirty-foot long go-carts, their thirty-foot wide wallets, their air-flavoured pollution and their milkmen, have done everything except find an answer as to whether God (Amen) is communist, socialist, capitalist, democratic, or bored, whereas God (Amen) has really decided to become an independent state, not being ruled by the President (Amen) of America, and has gone to live on an island somewhere in South Andromeda, away from all the hustle and bustle of the modern bridge game, but unfortunately Mrs God (Awomen) does not like South Andromeda, as there are no shopping centres, bridge clubs, knitting needles or milkmen established in the immediate vicinity, which is almost completely occupied by one of the biggest schools in the galaxy, where Mr and Mrs God's family (Amass) can go and disrupt class just like all good little gods and goddesses, or boys and girls as well, who apparently grow up to be men and women according to the Irish National Bureau of Statistics, who have recently revealed that hordes of top scientists from that country are working on a brilliant invention that they are appropriately naming "the wheel", and they feel sure that it will be of infinite benefit to our modern-day life, according to a spokesman, who also said that they are going to sell the valuable patent rights to the Soviet Union for at least £48,000 or maybe, if they are lucky, 1,410,000 Lire, depending upon whether the Soviet Union needs the use of a wheel or two in its industry of making intercontinental ballistic missiles, international disagreements, lots of snow and not many milkmen, or depending upon whether the weather of the island of "Oh, Where on Earth am I" is going to remain at a constant tropical heat of about -68° Fahrenheit or whether the weather is going to become cold, which could lead to the beginning of another Ice Age, similar to the first one when man had only just crawled out of the primeval slime and was just beginning to wipe it all off, but he had to wait until he thought of inventing Kleenex before patiently continuing in what seemed to be a never-ending uphill battle until the invention of soap and sandpaper, which helped tremendously to clean but did not succeed in stopping the re-application of dirt by man again, and even to this day men are still trying to wash off this persistent filth in a strange ritual called a bath, performed in controlled situations called tubs under extremely high temperature absurdities by one - sometimes two, or maybe even three - persons if the World Cup final is on television, the television is in the bathroom and no one has had the intelligence to think of actually moving the television out of the bathroom so that the rest of the less intelligent bathroom inhabitants have an opportunity to get themselves into a living-room or similar room and in the end find out that the World Cup final has been cancelled and that they have to put up with two hours of solid commercials for everything under the sun except milkmen, who never advertise on television as they cannot afford to after purchasing their new Lamborghinis from a leading used car dealer in Harlem, New York, where Lamborghinis are nearly as expensive as Central Park mugger detectors, that are so expensive because the only users of them are the only inhabitants of Central Park - two squirrels and a car park - who really use the mugger detectors because they are shaped like yo-yos, so that the users can throw them into the nearest bush to see if a mugger has camped there for the night, and if one has, then the yo-yo will theoretically hit him on the head, betraying then his unique hiding place to the operator of the ingenious device which was thought up by a crack team of thirty practical jokers employed by IBICTUACITY (I Bet I Can Think Up A Crazier Idea Than You) Proprietary Limited, who are also available on an international long-playing record that is guaranteed to be the wrong size, the wrong shape and the wrong speed, so that the buyer ends up with a piece of worthless plastic that he can either burn or break, in which case he would break a world record for the most useless recording of an insane yo-yo manufacturer of Central Park, New York, an effort of which he could be proud, but for which he would get no recognition, on account of the fact that nobody on the known part of the globe would be interested in that record being broken, except a group of fanatics on records called "The Guinness Bureau of Records", who put out a best-selling book called "The Guinness Book of Records", that uses a special type of ink of very high quality in its printing to make sure that a person buying the book will be able to read it, this then giving the Book a considerable advantage over most of the other world-wide publications, which are usually illegible to the reader, even if the reader is of the same nationality as the writer, which is not very likely anyway, as writers are almost invariably the wrong nationality and speak the wrong language, a particularly difficult obstacle to overcome on the reader's behalf, except if the reader was an aardvark, which speaks every known language, strangely enough, with consistent fluency, which makes it an invaluable addition to any zoo, as the aardvark can instruct the zoo keeper as to what cage deodoriser it would like used on its cage on a certain day of the week or how many autographs it would like to sign for little girls with little grannies who visit the zoo on the condition that the proprietors of the zoo let the little granny play with the larger pythons and the exciting starfish, and the little girl play with Monty Python and the exciting stars, who are determined not to reveal to her their secrets of success or their recipe for strawberry pudding that only that one group of professional idiots are permitted to prepare, according to the Margaret Fulton's International Cookery Book edition of 1979 which has outsold "The Complete Book of Chewing Gum", which is distributed by the same people that organised the first official U.F.O.-spotting ceremony, where the person who spots the most unidentified flying objects in ten minutes wins the lucky door prize of a trip for two, one-way, to the planet of the winner's choice, where he can visit the historic origin of quite a few extra-terrestrial beings and become one of the many suckers to fail for that publicity stunt by "Acme Flying Saucer and Distant Planet Corporation" who, because they are the sole manufacturers of the incredibly intricate, sophisticated, patented garbage tin lid, and because they have claimed rights to any misapprehension arrived at by a member of the general public after seeing a shooting star or a lost reindeer in the upward vicinity of the universe, have found it very easy indeed to influence the media into thinking that there is, in fact, a thriving colony of green men of various sizes orbiting the Earth and bas been throughout the history of the gullible consumer and his parents, who are a vital element in the stability of the belief in these approximately 50%-absolute absurdities of the heavens and who will solemnly swear that they are definitely descended from - or even living with - Napoleon, George Washington and Lord Nelson, and that they have all had a close encounter of the third kind with their favourite unexplained monster from the Loch Ness, the Himalayas, and/or the forests of southern Canada, when everyone knows that all three have been captured and put into Parliament to extrapolate the fundamental laws of human existence and support the theory that man did, in fact, evolve from the Tyrannosaurus Rex and not, as previously believed, from one of the more intelligent species of tinned apricots in syrup, which is a totally ridiculous idea, as Tyrannosaurus Rexs are infinitely more brainless and therefore perfect candidates for the title of "Dinosaurian Enemy No 1", even though they never ate tinned apricots in syrup, which is probably why they became extinct and why man is still thriving, because man eats tinned apricots in syrup every now and again, so that Ardmona, SPC and the rest can consider themselves the saviours of the species, as they are all the producers of the apparently vital part of man's diet, without which man could never have survived the Second World War, according to a self-proclaimed nutritionist, who believes that the Second World War, with its day-centres for Nazi prisoners-of-war, with its various air forces testing out their own anti-enemy firework displays - on the enemy, with its couple of million disguised civilians running around in funny uniforms seeing how close to the enemy they could fire their guns or throw their hand grenades without actually killing them, all falling miserably, with its super-generals all pretending that this little folly is really a dress-rehearsal for World War Three, and with its milkmen running around looking for work, was a complete waste of time on behalf of everyone who had anything to do with creating or inventing it, because no one had permission to have fun in the 1940s from the person in charge of international sport and recreation, who apparently has just retired after a frustrating succession of almost-fatal heart attacks and several quite nasty doses of cancer, which nearly drove him to drink, but was rescued from this boredom by a team of about seven hundred thousand doctors working around the clock for nearly six months without even enough rest to have a quick glimpse of the uncut fifty-one hour version of "War and Pieces of Things that are Not Really Anything to Do with War at All", which is a less successful rendition of the epic movie, "War and Percy", which described Percy Ivegottaluvalybunchofkoconutz's escapades during the Industrial Revolution, where he was barracking for all the industrials and their allies and was fighting whatever the industrials were revolting against, which eventuated in his being put in a lovely room with cushions all over the place and a couple of heavy locks on the door, with plenty of people looking after him and, strangely enough, all wearing white coats and looking much like traditional physio-chemists except for one minor detail, and that is that they were all wearing defence mechanisms to protect themselves from many of Percy's roommates, who appeared to be absolutely mad and quite unaware of the fact that Percy happened to be quite sane and wondering why all these people clad in white had classified him in with all these other weirdos when he was really as normal and sensible as, for instance, Mr E. Rattic, the current president of "Bigots Anonymous", who organises all socials where top-class bigots from all over the world come to degrade minority groups and try to win arguments in the longest possible time with the shortest amount of cocktail breaks or police rails that inconveniently interrupt this apparently jolly good get-together of world-champion, anti-social, chauvinistic, human letdowns, and discouraging Mr Rattic from shooting the lot of them if they laugh at him - or even near him - without consulting the extremely accurate "El Cheapo Bureau of Laws" (ECBOL) to see if laughing at Mr Rattic is currently against the law, or whether it is merely illegal and punishable by being sent to an Ita Buttrose (Amen) rock concert where forced to listen to a musical version of the recipe for next week's fascinating Women's Weekly, that includes an enthralling article on what to wear to the crowning of the next King of England, and how to dig up mushrooms if they get lost as a result of a sudden shower of larger pieces of hail than a dictionary updater would be led to expect, considering of course that a normal, everyday dictionary updater has only a limited intelligence and therefore could not be expected to expect a larger-than-expected size hailstone in the next sudden shower, provided the expected blizzard was conclusively not in April, in which case the dictionary updaters would be the first, if not the only, people to be able to predict the exact weight and diameter of an average hailstone falling in the region of Kuala Lumpur or Morocco, which would not be too difficult to predict, because, as everyone knows, no hailstones fall in Malaya or North Africa (at least not during public holidays), but petrol, by the gallon, or - if most of the residents of Morocco and Malaya have already received instructions from their respective leading petrol station operators to go metric - by the litre, which results in all the petrol sinking into the ground where it lies until some fool of a firebug throws a match in Morocco's general direction so that there is an instant flame that results in the whole of Morocco becoming unbearably hot, permitting the growth of larger than expected hailstones and encouraging the growth of masochists, who really love being tortured beyond recognition and cannot stand being pampered or having a good time, preferring having a really bad time which is how they go about having a good time, which confuses them because they can have a good time only by having a bad time, and good times are totally against their principles, so they have to have a good time which they cannot do either, so most of them kill themselves, resulting in a very large death rate for masochists, nearly as high as the corresponding rate for contortionists, who do really strange things like conquering volcanoes on Neptune in outrageous positions, so as to try to keep up with the already victorious original mountain-climbing contortionist, who really sped up that challenging peak, exhausting himself to the extent that he did not even have enough energy to compile, write, edit, publish and print a record-breaking sentence, since writing sentences of absurd lengths is thoroughly exhausting and not to be tried unless in peak physical condition, since people have tried (ABC NEWS INTERRUPTS THIS SENTENCE TO REPORT THAT AN UNKNOWN CONTORTIONIST, PARTS OF WHOM IT IS BELIEVED HAVE ORIGINATED ON NEPTUNE, HAS ATTEMPTED TO SCALE A FAMOUS MOUNTAIN IN THE SAHARA WITH A GRAND PIANO TIED TO HIS ANKLE. THANK YOU).