Keep Related Words Together

Words that go together should be kept together.

Often, the word “only” modifies a number. When that happens, keep the word “only” and the number together.

A couple of beefy movie stuntmen thought they could easily defeat martial arts expert Bruce Lee in a fight because he was only 5-foot-8-inches tall and weighed only 145 pounds, so he demonstrated his strength and skill to them. He placed them a few feet from a swimming pool, gave each of them an inflated bag for protection, and then told them to assume any stance they wanted. He then said that he would attempt to give one kick to each of them, without a windup or a running start, that would send the stuntmen into the swimming pool. Mr. Lee gave one kick, and the first stuntman flew into the pool, then he gave another kick, and the second stuntman flew into the pool.

A fun movie about drag queens is the Australian film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Directed by Stephan Elliott, the surprise international hit even won an Academy Award for Costume Design. This win is amazing: The showpiece costume of the film—the flip-flop dress—was made for only $7, thus showing the superiority of originality over money. (When the film’s costume designer, Lizzy Gardiner, picked up her Oscar, she wore a dress made from credit cards.) Of course, the male stars of the film wore dresses for the movie, but for the crew photo taken after the film was completed, every member of the crew, including some very macho males, happily wore a dress.

As an eight-year-old girl, Tatum O’Neal made Paper Moon; for a while afterward, her father, Ryan O’Neal, would not let her make any more movies. However, one day a teenaged Tatum told him that she wanted to use her earnings from Paper Moon to buy a horse ranch. He explained, “You made only $16,000. That won’t buy it.” Soon after, Tatum made $350,000 (and got a percentage) by acting in The Bad News Bears

Israeli statesman Moshe Dayan wore an eyepatch, having lost an eye during World War II. Stopped by a police officer for speeding, Mr. Dayan said, “I have only one eye. What do you want me to watch: the speedometer or the road?”

Diamond Jim Brady loved good food. He once ate a fish sauce in a restaurant in Paris and loved it. Unfortunately, the recipe was the property of only one restaurant in the world, and that restaurant’s chef guarded the recipe and kept it secret. But Diamond Jim wanted the recipe, and Charles Rector, the owner of Diamond Jim’s favorite restaurant in New York City, wanted to keep his biggest-eating—and biggest-spending—customer happy. Therefore, he took his son out of law school and sent him to Paris to work at the restaurant that had the secret fish sauce. After several months, he was entrusted with the recipe, memorized it, and then returned home. Diamond Jim met him at the pier and yelled at him while he was still on the boat, “Have you got the sauce?” That evening, Diamond Jim ate nine plates of fish with the special sauce, then told Mr. Rector, “If you poured some of that sauce over a Turkish towel, I believe I could eat all of it.” (Don’t believe that a restaurant owner would go to so much trouble to keep a customer happy? Believe it—according to Mr. Rector, Diamond Jim was his “best 25 customers”!)

As a very young ballet student in the Soviet Union, Natalia Makarova flirted with a handsome boy by saying that she could eat six quarts of ice cream. However, when she tried to do it, she disgraced herself—she was able to eat only four quarts.

Visualization can aid in healing. Sam Brodsky, a martial arts expert, once performed a demonstration before his students. He attempted to break nine one-inch concrete slabs with his bare hands; unfortunately, he injured his hand while breaking only seven of the slabs. His doctor examined the hand, then said that after a year of healing, he would be able to regain only partial use of it. Each night, Mr. Brodsky imagined that his hand was a building site and that a horde of little men was working all night long with mortar and cement to rebuild his hand. Each morning, he imagined a whistle going off after the little men had worked all night on his hand. The next time Mr. Brodsky saw his doctor, the doctor said that the healing process was remarkable, but that his knuckles were frozen together, creating a stiff hand. Therefore, Mr. Brodsky changed the visualization process and imagined the little men working with files and oil to sand the rough edges off his knuckles and lubricate them. The visualization worked. Instead of a year, the healing process took only ten weeks. Six months after that, Mr. Brodsky again attempted to break nine one-inch concrete slabs with his hand and succeeded.

Olympic-gold-medal-winning speed skater Bonnie Blair started skating when she was only two years old. Often, children that young wear what are known as “double-runners” when they skate—instead of having just one blade per skate, each skate has two, placed about one inch apart, in order to make it easier for the child to balance. However, young Bonnie didn’t get that advantage. Instead, her family got the smallest regular skates they could find and Bonnie learned to skate in them.

During World War II, the Japanese occupied Malaysia from January 1942 to August 1945. After the occupation of the town of Seremban, a Japanese executive decided to use a pond to raise ducks; therefore, he ordered that the pond be fenced in, then he released 600 ducklings into the pond. However, the Malaysians did not appreciate the Japanese executive’s plans. At the end of two months, only 300 ducklings were still alive, and at the end of three months, only 60 ducklings were still alive. When the Malaysians were questioned about the disappearance of the ducklings, they suggested that the ducklings didn’t know how to swim and therefore must have drowned.

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Free PDF book: William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure: A Retelling in Prose by David Bruce

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Free PDF book: Honey Badger Goes to Hell — and Heaven by David Bruce

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