Woman Files Suit Against A Waterfall

Funny story written by B. Twain Folderol

Wednesday, 15 April 2015


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Torrington, Wyoming (UPI): Mrs. Biddy G. Voortface, Cryan Estates, today filed suit against the Silver Cord Cascade and 44 other waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park, citing the severe threat their din posed to what she called the "auditory integrity" of her cat, 'Mr. Timmy Iddity.'

Mrs. Voortface claims that the waterfalls are major nuisances being marketed to an unsuspecting public as natural wonders. "Some vacation! The roar! I thought Yellowstone was going to be much quieter," said Mrs. Voortface. "I never expected this. And the geysers! Gush, gush, gush, all day long. Don't even get me started on the visitors to the park: children with their squeals of delight, grandparents with their gasps of admiration. How can anyone enjoy the beauty of the planet with so much noise? That's something I've always hated: the noise, noise, noise!"

Mrs. Voortface is no stranger to acoustic activism. In 1879, she filed for an injunction against James Ritty and John Birch of Dayton, Ohio, to prevent them from distributing their new invention, a mechanical cash register which sounded a bell every time the drawer was opened for a transaction. In the 1920's she organized and led the Society for the Preservation of Silent Films, strenuously opposed to what were then called "talkies," motion pictures with sound; her long-running feud with the inventor of the phonograph, Thomas Edison, was legendary. Less well known is her uncredited appearance in 1966 on Simon & Garfunkel's second album, in which she played the Quippled Loonatyk, a type of fipple flute whose tones are beyond the range of human hearing. In 2006, Mrs. Voortface led the famed boycott of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.'

A woman of considerable wealth and influence - sole heir to the Hushpuppy Footwear fortune - she once bought up all the clothespins and trading cards in the states of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire solely to prevent children from placing them on their bicycle spokes. In recent times she has been uncharacteristically vocal, a staunch supporter of the National Day of Silence, falling this year on Friday, April 17th. She disavowed her support, though, when she learned that it was designed to protest the harassment of LGBT youth.

Mrs. Voortface is best known, however, as the writer of the song, "Girls in Quiet White Dresses." In what was Larry King's very first interview, she spoke about the genesis of the tune: "Now, I love raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…especially whiskers on kittens, but, Larry, think about the message that old song conveys: doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles…? Think about what it's advocating. Have you ever heard the shrill ruffle that satin sashes make? And the banging of copper kettles? The piercing crinkle of brown paper packages when they're rustled? The maddening cackle of wild geese? I don't have to tell you that cream colored ponies emit all sorts of ungodly sounds! No, I just had to take a stand and counter that melody, for the sake of the culture. So, ya know, I wrote my song and then I didn't feel so bad…"

In her native Massachusetts, Mrs. Voortface is something of an icon. "Oh, Biddy," reported Mayor Jerome Westbrook, "she's a fixture in our community. Yup. Back in the 70's she sued the MBTA for all the rumbling on the Purple Line. Rumble, rumble, rumble, all day long. In '88 she led the protest against Donelans Supermarkets to prevent the sale of Rice Crispies…for obvious reasons. Just last week she filed a grievance in my office against the Whistle Stop Café across the street, well, you know, because of the name… I can't say people love her, but she keeps them entertained. Y'ever notice that there's not a bumble bee or hummingbird within twelve miles of Lincoln? That's no coincidence."

Monsignor Peter O'Malley of St. Joseph's Church, adjacent to Cryan Estates, added, "Thanks to Mrs. Voortface we've become a much more meditative congregation. We used to have a wonderful choir…and a quite magnificent pipe organ…and a truly beatific children's bell ringing ensemble, but no more. Now, we are immersed in the Great and Holy Silence. And, honestly, it's getting a little tiresome."

Anthony Gerard Brainard, Site Manager of Cryan Estates, reminisced about Mrs. Voortface's tenure in the condominium: "She's run so many good people out of the building it would make your head spin - that is if it spun round without making too much noise. She doesn't suffer anyone who talks above a whisper. There were the Ackerman's: they chewed with their mouths open. There were the Kinsley's: they had a popcorn maker. There were the Brett's: they had a tiny little hamster that went round and round in that infernal wheel. There were the Macklin's: their grandkids had a lot of those pull-string dolls - ya know, Chatty Cathy, Sister Small Talk and Mrs. Beasly. There were the Paul's: he had an oxygen machine. And there were Loudermilks: they were deaf-mutes, but she didn't like them from the get-go."

For 35 years Mrs. Voortface defended her positions in regular columns in the village gazette, The Lifeless Lincoln. And she remains a frequent guest at assemblies in schools across the region, where she outlines methods for living soundlessly. She is well known for her demonstrations of the proper procedure for ripping off a sheet of aluminum foil without the screeching, shimmering, strident noises such an act creates. She laments: "I remember the old days when decent folks wrapped their lunches in a clean kitchen towel and our chips in a lovely calm tin. Nowadays they have all manner of paper bags and plastic pouches that produce thunderous crinkles that send Mr. Timmy into fits. Then he goes and hides. He's got so many hiding places that we've had to call in a special corps of spelunkers to find him each time the people above us open a can of ginger ale.

Last year, an effort by Senate Republicans to issue a three-dollar coin stamped with the profiles of Anita Bryant, Phyllis Schlafly, and Mrs. Voortface failed by a single vote. But the International Union of Zoologists did vote to name a new genus of livestock pest after her, the musca voortefarcica, a type of tick that infects cattle and horses, primarily in the buttocks, but infinitely more annoying than the common Tabanidae.

Within two hours of filing, Judge Prescott J. Worthington dismissed Mrs. Voortface's case, writing an abrupt and brief opinion: "It is my learned opinion that the woman is just plain bat shit crazy." He accompanied the opinion with a mid-throated whistling sound and a rolling finger.

In a related story, the President of the Academy of American Philosophers and the Chair of the National Council of Acoustical Engineers issued a joint statement following their respective conventions at Brandeis University, reversing the age old conundrum about the proverbial tree that falls in the forest: "We once asserted-and science was on our side-that if a tree fell in the forest without anyone to hear it, there would be no noise. It would make no sound. We have revised our position: no matter where a tree falls in the world, Mrs. Voortface will hear it. Then she will sue the tree for making such a racket."

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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