Wikipedia: “A mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase.”
Albert stared at his computer screen. He tried to latch on to something solid because otherwise he’d feel like a ghost. A lap-top was solid even if its fleeting images weren’t. His family had told him he was too old for a computer and he should go gracefully into the umbrage of looming death with his eyes closed and memory-loss rampant, like all good old people should.
Then he heard one of them talking about carbon footprints. There could only be a finite number of computers in the world and one less for Albert would be one more for someone else. Yet the internet itself, he mused, did not exist except as a network of images….a potential world (if agreement could be reached with all its programmers) of green fields and open skies and unpolluted seas and no human beings, a ‘second life’ that had no footprints at all let alone carbon ones. This is what he thought as he heard the sush sush of tiny pink slippers from his great grand-daughter circling his chair, chanting of fairies and angels.
He did not mishear the sounds of the steps or chants themselves but he did mishear any description of the sounds as his grand-daughter chanting of fairies and angels rather than fairies and angels chanting of his great-granddaughter. Which the puppets, which not?
He shrugged as he banged his own boots on the floor in attempt to recall the many cold winters when he was himself younger and bringing up this same family from scratch. The world seemed then ever white, never green. Now it was turning black: bruised and mis-remembered. Although in his own mind, he still remembered fine. He did not even believe it was his own crying that caused real tears to slide down his cheeks.
He clicked the mouse to look up a word on google. He was annoyed the first entry was always from Wickedpedia. He was annoyed also with the thing crashing and not even ctrl-alt-del coming to his aid.
He switched it off in the hope that re-booting would bring it back to life. But there were of course no footprints any more…
(written today and first published here)
I became interested in the concept of “mondegreen” in late 2007. One thing led to another, and now I’m the administrator of a flaky effort called Mandy Green Project largely aimed at helping establish “mondegreen” as a household word. It involves a novel that centers on a mondegreen. Everyone is invited to check it out, but particularly anyone named Mandy Green!