After finishing our turkey and goose dinner on Thursday (and thank you once again Zack and Stevie), there was a fair share of conversation and wine guzzling. And it was during one such guzzling conversation that I invented a little parlour game (which is something you do when your Blotto Alcohol Content is approaching “College Freshman” levels).
I call it, simply, Write The Novel That Doesn’t Exist (or Poem or Short Story That Doesn’t Exist). There’s really no scoring and no winner, per se: It’s more a round robin for whomever can invent the best title for a work that does not, and may never, exist by a real-life author – and one that takes a playful dig at said author.
For instance, the most memorable entry, and one for which I assume only partial credit (the majority goes to our co-host, Stevie) was J.K. Rowling’s “The Last Harry Potter Novel," a book that does not, nor may ever, exist.
Another that I remember was one of mine, a poem, which I called William Wordsworth’s, “I Wandered Lonely as a Metaphor” (and yes, I know, but “metaphor” just sounds better). And one I thought of days later was John Updike’s “White Men Can’t Jump”, a sequel to his beloved novel, “Rabbit, Shut Up”.
It may sound like a difficult game at first, but once you and your friends start the ball rolling, you’ll find it difficult to stop. For instance, just now, I suddenly remembered another cherished Pulitzer Prize-winner, “Black Like Me” by William Styron.
There are no rules, save for that "Film" is not an eligible category: Your response must allude to a writer of novels, short stories, essays – really, anything in print that you would think a fair number of people have read or heard about (though you certainly may use cinematic references in the title of your "lost" work). And usually it will take the piss out of the author (such as in the above J.K. Rowling example). But it can also be just plain silly: For instance, “The Better New Testament” [which we also called “New Testament (The Director’s Cut”)]
The beauty of the game is that it rewards both substance abuse and intelligence, two pursuits usually at odds with each other, but that here are recognized for what they really are -- and that is the twin pillars of Wit.
So, next time you hear the dreaded words “Pictionary” or “Charades” at a party, tell your hosts that you have a new game and one that will require someone, at some point, to exclaim:
“Fucking, Fucking, Fuck, Fuck, Fuck!!” by Rush Limbaugh.
Today’s lesson, redux: And, yes, I suppose you could include books-on-tape, for instance, Hillary Clinton’s “It Takes a Village (Paul Oakenfold Re-Mix)”.