This is an encounter for the editing game we're putting together. Visit this forum thread to join the fun.Flying a overhead in a tiny fancy red bi-plane is a monkey in a red Fez. He is dropping oddly-shaped bombs which you're barely avoiding. image◊ Tropedex says: Parabomber. The digression editor. The parabomber scans the wiki for appropriate places to assault with his dreaded parenthesese, clauses, brackets and a number of other state-of-the-art artillery shells that fatally derail trains of thought. He packs whatever opinions and reservations come to his mind upon reading a sentence, wraps them up in parentheses and drops them into the middle of the poor defenseless sentence without warning. Brevity and wit are anathema to the parabomber; he delights in nothing more than destroying a comment that is short and to the point.
Narrative: Do you:
(Delete the parabomb edits with extreme prejudice) Yeah, that'll show the bastard. Natter is natter is natter, decorated in bullet points or not. You take out your wiki eraser and start shooting back. Oh HO. He did not expect this. Clearly this little guy was so hell-bent on adding parentheses and clauses that it did not once cross his mind that they can be deleted just as easily. Things start to get really interesting when he charges up the Stack Overflow Limit Break Desperation Attack that took down your beloved Tropédex and you immediately start reciting the Litany against Natter, aiming the eraser square between his eyes all the while. Your erasing beam and his parenthetical beam crash in a great shower of sparks and you spend the next few minutes pushing and letting out great frustration-laden yells each in an effort to push the other's beam back. At one point you can swear you can hear a smug narrator going "What will be the result of our This fateful clash between Editor and Parabomber? Stay tuned for the next episode!". Pale echoes of the Parabomber's previous victims emerge from the tip of his cannon, cheering you on and giving you the strength you need to tip the scales in your favor. The shadow of a particularly masterful four-word-long observation regarding Shakespeare's love for wordplay that had been impaled with a parenthetical seventeen-word-long paragraph spits in the parabomber's face. At last you manage to force his hand, and the erasing beam hits him straight in the forehead. His look of incredible surprise only lasts for a fraction of a second before he evaporates into thin air. Very exhausted, you turn to slump down when you hear a faux-pastoral piano composition that nearly makes you jump out of your skin. Then you realize that it's the Microsoft Windows startup sound. Your Tropédex has managed to recover and restart itself! It was Only Mostly Dead! Wow, this is just like in those Disney films!
(Take a deep breath, count from one to ten and delete the parabomb edits. Try to withhold the extreme prejudice.) You take a deep breath (BOOM) and count from one to ten (though that is a purely arbitrary number which we use only because as a species we happen to have ten fingers). Drat, one sentence down. It's hard to (BOOM) concentrate like this. Having thought it through you figure that no matter what you do, you always ought to look for something salvagable. Going (BOOM) through the parabomber's edits is a (according to some people at least) major pain, but with some effort you find that some of the parabombs are actually reasonable. Granted, not most of them, not even half of them, but some of them have a valid point and don't make the sentence too cumbersome. Clearly, he was saving all the really horrible ones for you. You leave those alone and start deleting the rest. This is really no easy feat. Trying to kill it with indiscriminate fire would have been enough of a challenge, but wow, some dexterity is required here, and this is really taxing you. As you drop to the wet grass you hear the Parabomber charging his Stack Overflow Limit Break Desperation Attack again and you're just too exhausted to move, and the charge reaches its climax and— PEEEWW You sit there, ready for some Basilisk-esque Gödelian abomination that will crawl into your visual cortex and turn your brain into mashed potatoes by forcing it to acknowledge that This Statement is Five and Two Plus Two Equals False. A few moments pass but nothing happens. You open your eyes and see a faint glow in front of you. A spheric pale blue shield has enveloped you, nullifying the Parabomber's attack completely! Though your vision is a bit blurry, you can clearly see now that your Tropédex is floating in the air and is the source of this eerie glow. It then flashes a very bright light and out of its tiny imaging unit bursts this ethereal holographic projection of a blue-haired girl, her boat-light eyes shimmering Red and Green, her forehead goggle-bound. She gives you this mischievous smile. "Thank you for that," she whispers, and with a sweep of her gigantic quill the Parabomber disappears as if he were never there. She gives one last chuckle and promptly disappears in a show of dancing lights. The Tropédex folds up and drops to the ground like, well, like an object that drops to the ground. It whamps against the grass. You collect it and open it up. You look at it from every which possible angle, but nothing. It seems to be running in exactly the usual sort of way. This whole ordeal very disturbingly reminds you of a story you once heard about some guy who started talking to the imaginary girl in charge of erasing his etch-a-sketch. Man. You've hit rock bottom.
(Integrate the parabomb edits into the sentences in a normal way.) You jump out of the way of a (BOOM) parabomb and put your hands on one of the edits. You unwrap it and uncover a factoid. Yes, objective fact. Now this is what it's about, extracting the truth from this mishmash of byproducts. It's really not much of a difficult mission, and you manage to (BOOM) avoid the parabombs easily. It's just removing a parenthesis here, relocating a comma there. Basic stuff. When you're done, the little creature growls at you and begins charging its Stack Overflow Limit Break Desperation Attack, only to find out that it is out of parabombs! It meeps. You unceremoniously pick it out of the sky with your eraser. You collect your trusty Tropédex from its resting place. It seems to still be restarting with this swirling animation, "Please wait... collecting Tao". Huh. And there you thought that the Tao that can be collected is not the true Tao. You take a few steps and you start noticing that the air is thick with something. It seems to be fine sickly powdery oily white stuff, like some sort of hi-octane dandruff. It clings to your hand. You try to get it off, but to no avail. And then it strikes you that you've heard about this stuff once. Oh no oh no oh no. It has many names. That-which-glues. That-which-clutters. That-which-comes-and-never-goes. That-which-smothers-silently. How? This place was clean just a few seconds ago! You wonder how it could have possibly gotten there, and then it hits you. You are slammed to the ground painfully and in the process you also realize how it had gotten there. You made it. You did not get rid of the parabomber's dangerous weapons at all; you broke them down to their even more volatile, more dangerous components. You extracted from them the core of pointless trivia, of needless blabbing that has nothing to do with the subject at hand or even the trope at all. The Cruft. All of that irrelevant information is still there, only now it isn't bound by the parentheses. Apparently the parabomber knew how to handle this stuff better than you did. The cruft wrestles you to the ground and consumes you, digesting you for the energy needed to reproduce itself into several tirades about splitting infinitives and a very long explanation of why Tommy and Kimberly from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers should have totally ended up together and Kat is hell incarnate. Though you have failed to find a purpose in life, the cruft has found one for you. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero. GAME OVER