At the end of this column, there will be an extremely funny line in bold print. I didn’t write it. The tag lines for Street Talk are written by Karen, our lovely and talented “tag executive.”
Karen, come on out here and take a bow, will you?
Karen can’t come out and take a bow because she’s not in my living room. But this provides me a chance to introduce and thank the many people who, week after week, help produce this fine column as it enters its 10th year.
The production team is huge. There are individuals in charge of verbs, others in charge of nouns and gerunds, and a couple of people we keep on staff to explain to the rest of us exactly what gerunds are.
Also predicates.
Every Tuesday, the staff gathers at the Street Talk studio, a lavish space overlooking the Lewiston canals, to put on those final touches. The production team will get together with the design team. We’ll have a first walk-through, rehearsals and tweaks before we hand things over to the engineers.
Over here you’ll see our key grip weaving his cart up and down the aisles, providing various parts of speech just when we need them. He’s got your prepositions, your infinitives, your participles. During the Great Participle Shortage of the mid-2000s, we got creative and doubled up on prepositions.
It was a heavy thing for us . . . to be up against.
After the first walk-through, I’ll get shuttled over to wardrobe where the finest stylists will adjust my hair and wardrobe. See the photo above this column? I didn’t roll out of bed looking that fine. The hair, the beard, the shirt that beautifully matches my skin tone? All of that came together only with the help of six fashionistas dedicated to making Street Talk the best it can be.
Before the column is ready for the masses, it has to be shipped over to our Legal Department, which will pore over each word and each masterful metaphor to ensure there is no area of concern. Street Talk has always been committed to bringing you only happy news and an optimistic point of view. When we run it by legal, it’s basically a matter of tradition and a means of keeping those good people employed.
When it’s almost go time, the excitement in the air around the Street Talk studio is palpable. (I just ran that by our Definitions Department and, yes. Palpable is the right word.)
Our security department is on hand to make sure the throngs of fans, eager to get an early glance at the day’s offering, don’t manage to infiltrate the facility and interrupt the purity of the process. Those people featured in the column will be flown in — even if they happen to live on Bates Street — and will enjoy the production from our green room, which is actually yellow because our landlord went to prison before giving us the OK to paint.
I tend to pace a lot in these final moments. My tie hangs askew and I bark orders at my tense team. Is this sentence passive when it should be active? Does this simile sing in just the right note, like a drunk woman next to a jukebox?
The Profanity Department gets one more swing at the final product and those friggin’ morons take their sweet time with it, too. But before long, everybody has had their say and we’re ready to go. The tension is unbelievable. Outside, through the massive window, I see fans displaying their signs and various body parts and I think: Is it good enough? Is it up to the awesome standard we at Street Talk have set in the weeks, months and years leading up to this moment?
I believe it is. With a great exhalation, I hit the giant, red PUBLISH button. A bell, flown in from Italy, chimes at the top of the building. A dozen doves are released into the air. The crew breaks out in thunderous applause which warms my (final check with the Vocabulary Department) cockles.
And we’re done. A small army of delivery boys, each clad in an overcoat and derby and equipped with a bell to ring on street corners, fans out across the region to get the finished product onto your doorstep. And so concludes another week of the tedious joy that is Street Talk.
I look forward to next week when our Hyperbole Department is back from vacation to once again ensure that nobody releases information here that isn’t 100 percent accurate.
Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer. He is part of a study to determine whether 100 chimps typing randomly around the clock could produce a column. You can ask him how long it took at [email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.