ADAVEN, Nevada -- Even as the Conservation Laboratory for Palindromes, plc, (CLP plc), a private-public partnership which seeks to preserve the palindrome for posterity, petitions Congress to add the palindrome to the Endangered Species Act, a bill sponsored by Sen. R. A. Barnes, Sen. Y. A. Haynes and Sen. O. J. Jones is working its way through Congress.
According to Bob "Otto" Bob, who holds the top spot at CLP plc, since the palindrome is neither flora nor fauna, the classification of the palindrome as endangered would break new taxonomic ground. But, as Otto put it, "Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?"
To look into the inner workings of the Conservation Laboratory for Palindromes, GaryGaddy.com sent two crack reporters, Lee Keel and Lisa Basil, to listen to what gets said inside of one of America's top linguistic think tanks.
As we toured the CLP plc campus, nestled in a valley sidled against the Humboldt National Forest, we eavesdropped, recording a small handful of the exchanges we overheard.
According to the CLP plc's Dr. Awkward, one of the institute's first projects was a history of the world in palindrome, beginning with the first instance ever recorded, "Madam, I'm Adam," (addressed to Eve, of course).
But, according to British historian Sir Roman A. Morris, while the fall of the palindrome began with the first mom and dad, it continues to this day. As Morris noted, "Dennis sinned," and, shortly thereafter, "Dennis and Edna sinned."
As observed by Morris, other historically significant palindromes include Napoleon's unequivocally Napoleonic declaration ("Able was I ere I saw Elba!"), which inspired many more, notably Wake Forest University sophomore Bodo Beer's sophomoric boast: ("Remarkable was I ere I saw Elba Kramer!")
Dr. O. F. Mumford told us that the engineer of the lock-design for the first artificial inter-oceanic waterway John Frank Stevens was rightly immortalized with "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!" But he also explained that others expanded on Stevens great life work: "A man, a plan, a cat, a ham, a yak, a yam, a hat, a canal, Panama!"
In a conference room we witnessed this fragment of a theological debate between Dr. Allan Allard and the Rev. A. E. Deaver.
Deaver quoted the Devil: "Reviled did I live, said I, as evil I did deliver."
"Devil never even lived," replied Allard.
"Evil, a sin, is alive," responded Deaver.
Looking out the window, Allard exclaimed, "Aha!" Then he asked, "Do geese see God?"
In one lecture, stats maven Dr. Ari Girard said that palindromic numbers, strangely, are "Never odd or even." Then Girard whispered to us: "I prefer pi."
Overheard between two cubicles.
"Was it a car or a cat I saw?" asked Leon Noel.
"Racecar, a Toyota racecar," answered Ned Den.
"Civic?" queried Noel.
"A Toyota," responded an exasperated Den.
After Noel looked quizzically, Den added: "A Toyota. Race fast, safe car. A Toyota."
"I did, did I?" Noel, then shrugged his shoulders, noting: "A Toyota's a Toyota."
In the break room, Lena H. Chanel was musing.
Lena: "If I had a hi-fi . . ."
"Abba?" asked Blake DeKalb
"Oh, no! Don Ho!" responded Lena.
Then the tattooed Blake said: "Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas!"
As we left, Bob Otto Bob told us the laboratory's next big project is finding a cure for aibohphobia (the fear of palindromes), a condition which strikes 11 out of every 121 Americans.
Did you know? Emordnilap, the antonym of palindrome, is a word which spelled backwards is palindrome, which is a word which spelled backwards is the same as the word spelled forward, which emordnilap is, or is not, depending on how you look at it.
The first reader to identify all the palindromes of three letters or more in this column will be eligible for a drawing for an all-expense paid 7-day voyage on Cannard Cruise Line's flagship vessel, The Red Herring.
Gary D. Gaddy, oddly, isn't close to a palindrome
A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday June 4, 2009.
Copyright 2009 Gary D. Gaddy