Tandem Writing

Remember the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? Here is a prime example offered by an English professor at Southern Methodist University, English 44A, Creative Writing, Prof. Miller:

In-class Assignment for Wednesday:

"Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple: Each person will pair off with someone else. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

"The following was actually turned in by two of my English students: Rebecca - last name deleted, and Gary - last name deleted."


STORY: (first paragraph by Rebecca)

At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.


Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his trans-galactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.


He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth -- when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.


Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion wich vaporized Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow 'em out of the sky!"


This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.


Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.





Kiss Hank's Butt!

This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door, I found a well-groomed, nicely dressed couple.
The man spoke first: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."
Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's butt with us."
Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss his butt?"
John: "If you kiss Hank's butt, he'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, he'll kick the crap out of you."
Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"
John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do what ever he wants, and what he wants is to give you a million dollars, but he can't until you kiss his butt."
Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."
Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the butt?"
Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."
John: "Then come kiss Hank's butt with us."
Me: "Do you kiss Hank's butt often?"
Mary: "Oh, yes, all the time..."
Me: "And has he given you a million dollars?"
John: "Well, no, you don't actually get the money until you leave town."
Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"
Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and he kicks the crap out of you."
Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's butt, left town, and got the million dollars?"
John: "My mother kissed Hank's butt for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."
Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"
John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."
Me: "So what makes you think he'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"
Mary: "Well, he gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty dollar bill on the street."
Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?
John: "Hank has certain 'connections.'"
Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."
John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's butt he'll kick the crap of you."
Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to him, get the details straight from him..."
Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."
Me: "Then how do you kiss his butt?"
John: "Sometimes we just blow him a kiss, and think of his butt. Other times we kiss Karl's butt, and he passes it on."
Me: "Who's Karl?"
Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's butt. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."
Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss his butt, and that Hank would reward you?"
John: "Oh no! Karl's got a letter Hank sent him years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."
John handed me a photocopy of a handwritten memo on From the desk of Karl letterhead.
There were eleven items listed:

1. Kiss Hank's butt and he'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
2. Use alcohol in moderation.
3. Kick the crap out of people who aren't like you.
4. Eat right.
5. Hank dictated this list himself.
6. The moon is made of green cheese.
7. Everything Hank says is right.
8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
9. Don't drink.
10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
11. Kiss Hank's butt or he'll kick the crap out of you.

Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."
Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."
Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is actually Karl's handwriting."
John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."
Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"
Mary: "Not now, but years ago he would talk to some people."
Me: "I thought you said he was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the crap out of people just because they're different?"
Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."
Me: "How do you figure that?"
Mary: "Item 7 says, 'Everything Hanks says is right.' That's good enough for me!"
Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."
John: "No way! Item 5 says, 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says, 'Use alcohol in moderation,' item 4 says, 'Eat right,' and item 8 says, 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."
Me: "But 9 says, 'Don't Drink,' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says, 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."
John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."
Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."
Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."
Me: "I'm not really an expert, but I think the theory that the moon came from the Earth has been discounted. Besides, not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it cheese."
John: "Aha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!"
Me: "We do?"
Mary: "Of course we do, Item 5 says so."
Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying, 'Hank's right because he says he's right.'"
John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."
Me: "But.... oh, never mind. What's the deal with wieners?"
Mary blushes. John says: "Wieners, in buns, no condiments. It's Hank's way. Anything else is wrong."
Me: "What if I don't have a bun?"
John: "No bun, no wiener. A wiener without a bun is wrong."
Me: "No relish? No Mustard?"
Mary looks positively stricken. John shouts: "There's no need for such language! Condiments of any kind are wrong!"
Me: "So a big pile of sauerkraut with some wieners chopped up in it would be out of the question?"
Mary sticks her fingers in her ears: "I am not listening to this. La la la, la la, la la la."
John: "That's disgusting. Only some sort of evil deviant would eat that...."
Me: "It's good! I eat it all the time."
Mary faints. John catches her: "Well, if I'd known you were one of those I wouldn't have wasted my time. When Hank kicks the crap out of you I'll be there, counting my money and laughing. I'll kiss Hank's butt for you, you bunless cut-wienered kraut-eater."
With this, John dragged Mary to their waiting car, and sped off.

Acrostic brick?

Subject: Re: Bricks 
From: (Ian Collier)
Newsgroups: oxbridge.tat (Tim Reid) wrote:
>There seems to be a trend which
>I hadn't come across until very
>recently to write articles in a
>strange way, somewhat like this
>so that their right margins are
>straight, without having to use
>additional spaces, which, to be
>fair seems to lose the point of
>the whole approach. Some of the
>few best posts have an acrostic 
>down the left hand margin (in a
>few cases _both_ margins, a job
>which I feel is beyond me) just
>to make life more difficult for
>the composer.

An acrostic, you say?  It sounds
barely achievable.  At first one
could probably do it quite well.
Doing this is at the start a bit
easier than thinking up the text
for the latter letters.  Imagine
getting up to the letter X, then
having nothing to write.  Indeed
I have not tried this before.  I
just write "brick" text usually.
Keeping lines of text to a fixed
length is easy and I often write
my news articles in this format.
Now this idea seems to give more
of a challenge.  It is in fact a
pretty difficult thing to do.  I
quite like the idea but think it
rather difficult.  Oh well, only
seven lines to go after this.  I
think I am getting toward a very
ugly bit now - it is going to be
very difficult to get to the end
without waffling.  How will I do
X?  (I think I managed that OK!)
Yes, I have almost finished.  My
zebra will have to wait!  Adieu!

Tale of the Sandwich Trailer

Here's the background:

Ian works in a coffee, bagels, and sandwiches trailer on the campus of UNH. (The University of New Hampshire) Vinnie is his boss and the owner of the truck, and yes, according to Ian, this actually happened. Ian is telling the story.

Her: Yes, I'd like a milk with some coffee in it.
Me: So, that's just a splash of coffee in a milk?
Her: No, a regular amount of milk, but not coffee.
Me: Is there more milk or coffee?
Her: Oh, definitely more coffee.
Me: So that's a coffee with some extra milk.
Her: Just the usual amount of milk.
Me: A coffee with milk.
Her: Yes.
Me: Anything else?
Her: A little extra milk and do you have coffee with no caffeine?
Me: We do have decaf.
Her: No, I don't want decaf, just some coffee without the caffeine.
Me: Ma'am, that's what decaf means, no caffeine.
Her: Oh, then do you have milk with no caffeine?
Me: Milk doesn't come with caffeine.
Her: Yes it does.
Me: Not that I know of, where do you get your milk?
Her: It doesn't say caffeine free on the milk so it must have caffeine.
Me: Oh, you're right, my mistake, I forgot that we only get the decaf milk. No problem, we have only decaf milk. Anything else?
Her: Do you have any bagels?
Vinnie: (who has been listening all along): I'm sorry, ma'am, we're all out of decaf bagels.
Her: Well, what are those? (pointing at sesame bagels)
Vinnie: Those are sesame donuts with extra caffeine added.
Her: I guess I'll just have the coffee.
Her: Do you take credit cards?
Me: No ma'am, cash only.
Her: What about visa?
Me: Is that a credit card?
Her: Well, yes.
Vinnie: Is it cash?
Her: No.
Vinnie: Then no, we can't take it.
Her: What about checks?
Me: Cash ma'am, nothing else.
Her: O.K.
Her: How much is that?
Vinnie: Eleven dollars and 45 cents.
Her: Really?
Vinnie: New war in Alaska is ruining the coffee business, plus you wanted the coffee with no caffeine, that's hard to find now, had to grow it myself.
Her: O.K. (proceeds to write a check)
Vinnie: Please leave.
Her: Why?
Vinnie: You're raising my blood pressure, leave now.
Her: But what about my coffee?
Vinnie: Leave and never return.
She leaves, but pays the $11.45 first. Seriously.

Sentient Meat

"They're made out of meat."


"Meat. They're made out of meat."


"There's no doubt about it. We picked several from different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, probed them all the way through. They're completely meat."

"That's impossible. What about the radio signals? The messages to the stars."

"They use the radio waves to talk, but the signals don't come from them. The signals come from machines."

"So who made the machines? That's who we want to contact."

"They made the machines. That's what I'm trying to tell you. Meat made the machines."

"That's ridiculous. How can meat make a machine? You're asking me to believe in sentient meat."

"I'm not asking you, I 'm telling you. These creatures are the only sentient race in the sector and they're made out of meat."

"Maybe they're like the Orfolei. You know, a carbon-based intelligence that goes through a meat stage."

"Nope. They're born meat and they die meat. We studied them for several of their life spans, which didn't take too long. Do you have any idea the life span of meat?"

"Spare me. Okay, maybe they're only part meat. You know, like the Weddilei. A meat head with an electron plasma brain inside."

"Nope. We thought of that, since they do have meat heads like the Weddilei. But I told you, we probed them. They're meat all the way through."

"No brain?"

"Oh, there is a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat!"

"So... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? The brain does the thinking. The meat."

"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you getting the picture?"

"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

"Finally, Yes. They are indeed made out meat. And they've been trying to get in touch with us for almost a hundred of their years."

"So what does the meat have in mind."

"First it wants to talk to us. Then I imagine it wants to explore the universe, contact other sentients, swap ideas and information. The usual."

"We're supposed to talk to meat?"

"That's the idea. That's the message they're sending out by radio. 'Hello. Anyone out there? Anyone home?' That sort of thing."

"They actually do talk, then. They use words, ideas, concepts?"

"Oh, yes. Except they do it with meat."

"I thought you just told me they used radio."

"They do, but what do you think is on the radio? Meat sounds. You know how when you slap or flap meat it makes a noise? They talk by flapping their meat at each other. They can even sing by squirting air through their meat."

"Omigod. Singing meat. This is altogether too much. So what do you advise?"

"Officially or unofficially?"


"Officially, we are required to contact, welcome, and log in any and all sentient races or multibeings in the quadrant, without prejudice, fear, or favor. Unofficially, I advise that we erase the records and forget the whole thing."

"I was hoping you would say that."

"It seems harsh, but there is a limit. Do we really want to make contact with meat?"

"I agree one hundred percent. What's there to say?" `Hello, meat. How's it going?' But will this work? How many planets are we dealing with here?"

"Just one. They can travel to other planets in special meat containers, but they can't live on them. And being meat, they only travel through C space. Which limits them to the speed of light and makes the possibility of their ever making contact pretty slim. Infinitesimal, in fact."

"So we just pretend there's no one home in the universe."

"That's it."

"Cruel. But you said it yourself, who wants to meet meat? And the ones who have been aboard our vessels, the ones you have probed? You're sure they won't remember?"

"They'll be considered crackpots if they do. We went into their heads and smoothed out their meat so that we're just a dream to them."

"A dream to meat! How strangely appropriate, that we should be meat's dream."

"And we can mark this sector unoccupied."

"Good. Agreed, officially and unofficially. Case closed. Any others? Anyone interesting on that side of the galaxy?"

"Yes, a rather shy but sweet hydrogen core cluster intelligence in a class nine star in G445 zone. Was in contact two galactic rotation ago, wants to be friendly again."

"They always come around."

"And why not? Imagine how unbearably, how unutterably cold the universe would be if one were all alone."

God Speaks to Noah

And the Lord spoke to Noah and said: "In six months I'm going to make it rain until the whole earth is covered with water and all the evil people are destroyed. But I want to save a few good people, and two of every kind of living thing on the planet. I am ordering you to build Me an Ark." And in a flash of lightning he delivered the specifications for an Ark.
"OK," said Noah, trembling in fear and fumbling with the blueprints. "Six months, and it starts to rain," thundered the Lord. "You'd better have my Ark completed, or learn how to swim for a very long time."
And six months passed. The skies began to cloud up and rain began to fall. The Lord saw that Noah was sitting in his front yard, weeping. And there was no Ark. "Noah," shouted the Lord, "where is my Ark?" A lightning bolt crashed into the ground next to Noah. "Lord, please forgive me!" begged Noah. "I did my best. But there were big problems. First I had to get a building permit for the Ark construction project, and your plans didn't meet code. So I had to hire an engineer to redraw the plans. Then I got into a big fight over whether or not the Ark needed a fire sprinkler system. My neighbors objected, claiming I was violating zoning by building the Ark in my front yard, so I had to get a variance from the city planning commission. Then I had a big problem getting enough wood for the Ark because there was a ban on cutting trees to save the Spotted Owl. I had to convince Fish and Wildlife that I needed the wood to save the owls. But they wouldn't let me catch any owls.
So no owls. Then the carpenters formed a union and went out on strike. I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board before anyone would pick up a saw or a hammer. Now we have 16 carpenters going on the boat, and still no owls. Then I started gathering up animals, and got sued by an animal rights group. They objected to me taking only two of each kind. Just when I got the suit dismissed, EPA notified me that I couldn't complete the Ark without filing an environmental impact statement on your proposed flood. They didn't take kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the conduct of a Supreme Being. Then the Army Corps of Engineers wanted a map of the proposed new flood plain. I sent them a globe. Right now I'm still trying to resolve a complaint from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over how many Croatians I'm supposed to hire, the IRS has seized all my assets claiming I'm trying to avoid paying taxes by leaving the country, and I just got a notice from the state about owing some kind of use tax. I really don't think I can finish your Ark for at least another five years," Noah wailed.
The sky began to clear. The sun began to shine. A rainbow arched across the sky. Noah looked up and smiled. "You mean you're not going to destroy the earth?" Noah asked, hopefully. "No," said the Lord sadly, "Government already has."

Does Santa Exist?

There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the Population Reference Bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child in each. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get on to the next house. Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second--3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized Lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying" reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can't be done with eight or even nine of them-Santawould need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch). 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance-this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip. Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of 17,500 g's. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.

This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also Found Several Times in the Story Itself

This is the first sentence of this story. This is the second sentence. This is the title of this story, which is also found several times in the story itself. This sentence is questioning the intrinsic value of the first two sentences. This sentence is to inform you, in case you haven't already realized it, that this is a self-referential story, that is, a story containing sentences that refer to their own structure and function. This is a sentence that provides an ending to the first paragraph.

This is the first sentence of a new paragraph in a self-referential story. This sentence is introducing you to the protagonist of the story, a young boy named Billy. This sentence is telling you that Billy is blond and blue-eyed and American and twelve years old and strangling his mother. This sentence comments on the awkward nature of the self-referential narrative form while recognizing the strange and playful detachment it affords the writer. As if illustrating the point made by the last sentence, this sentence reminds us, with no trace of facetiousness, that children are a precious gift from God and that the world is a better place when graced by the unique joys and delights they bring to it.

This sentence describes Billy's mother's bulging eyes and protruding tongue and makes reference to the unpleasant choking and gagging noises she's making. This sentence makes the observation that these are uncertain and difficult times, and that relationships, even seemingly deep-rooted and permanent ones, do have a tendency to break down.

Introduces, in this paragraph, the device of sentence fragments. A sentence fragment. Another. Good device. Will be used more later.

This is actually the last sentence of the story but has been placed here by mistake. This is the title of this story, which is also found several times in the story itself. As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself in his bed transformed into a gigantic insect. This sentence informs you that the preceding sentence is from another story entirely (a much better one, it must be noted) and has no place at all in this particular narrative. Despite the claims of the preceding sentence, this sentence feels compelled to inform you that the story you are reading is in actuality "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka, and that the sentence referred to by the preceding sentence is the only sentence which does indeed belong in this story. This sentence overrides the preceding sentence by informing the reader (poor, confused wretch) that this piece of literature is actually the Declaration of Independence, but that the author, in a show of extreme negligence (if not malicious sabotage), has so far failed to include even one single sentence from that stirring document, although he has condescended to use a small sentence fragment, namely, "When in the course of human events", embedded in quotation marks near the end of a sentence. Showing a keen awareness of the boredom and downright hostility of the average reader with regard to the pointless conceptual games indulged in by the preceding sentences, this sentence returns us at last to the scenario of the story by asking the question, "Why is Billy strangling his mother?" This sentence attempts to shed some light on the question posed by the preceding sentence but fails. This sentence, however, succeeds, in that it suggests a possible incestuous relationship between Billy and his mother and alludes to the concomitant Freudian complications any astute reader will immediately envision. Incest. The unspeakable taboo. The universal prohibition. Incest. And notice the sentence fragments? Good literary device. Will be used more later.

This is the first sentence in a new paragraph. This is the last sentence in a new paragraph.

This sentence can serve as either the beginning of the paragraph or the end, depending on its placement. This is the title of his story, which is also found several times in the story itself. This sentence raises a serious objection to the entire class of self-referential sentences that merely comment on their own function or placement within the story (e.g., the preceding four sentences), on the grounds that they are monotonously predictable, unforgivably self-indulgent, and merely serve to distract the reader from the real subject of this story, which at this point seems to concern strangulation and incest and who knows what other delightful topics. The purpose of this sentence is to point out that the preceding sentence, while not itself a member of the class of self-referential sentences it objects to, nevertheless also serves merely to distract the reader from the real subject of this story, which actually concerns Gregor Samsa's inexplicable transformation into a gigantic insect (despite the vociferous counterclaims of other well-meaning although misinformed sentences). This sentence can serve as either the beginning of a paragraph or the end, depending on its placement.

This is the title of this story, which is also found several times in the story itself. This is almost the title of the story, which is found only once in the story itself. This sentence regretfully states that up to this point the self-referential mode of narrative has had a paralyzing effect on the actual progress of the story itself-that is, these sentences have been so concerned with analyzing themselves and their role in the story that they have failed by and large to perform their function as communicators of events and ideas that one hopes coalesce into a plot, character development, etc.-in short, the very raisons d 'etre of any respectable, hardworking sentence in the midst of a piece of compelling prose fiction. This sentence in addition points out the obvious analogy between the plight of these agonizingly self-aware sentences and similarly afflicted human beings, and it points out the analogous paralyzing effects wrought by excessive and tortured self-examination.

The purpose of this sentence (which can also serve as a paragraph) is to speculate that if the Declaration of Independence had been worded and structured as lackadaisically and incoherently as this story has been so far, there's no telling what kind of warped libertine society we'd be living in now or to what depths of decadence the inhabitants of this country might have sunk, even to the point of deranged and debased writers constructing irritatingly cumbersome and needlessly prolix sentences that sometimes possess the questionable if not downright undesirable quality of referring to themselves and they sometimes even become run-on sentences or exhibit other signs of inexcusably sloppy grammar like unneeded superfluous redundancies that almost certainly would have insidious effects on the lifestyle and morals of our impressionable youth, leading them to commit incest or even murder and maybe that's why Billy is strangling his mother, because of sentences just like this one, which have no discernible goals or perspicuous purpose and just end up anywhere, even in mid

Bizarre. A sentence fragment. Another fragment. Twelve years old. This is a sentence that. Fragmented. And strangling his mother. Sorry, sorry. Bizarre. This. More fragments. This is it. Fragments. The title of this story, which. Blond. Sorry, sorry. Fragment after fragment. Harder. This is a sentence that. Fragments. Damn good device.

The purpose of this sentence is threefold: (1) to apologize for the unfortunate and inexplicable lapse exhibited by the preceding paragraph; (2) to assure you, the reader, that it will not happen again; and (3) to reiterate the point that these are uncertain and difficult times and that aspects of language, even seemingly stable and deeply rooted ones such as syntax and meaning, do break down. This sentence adds nothing substantial to the sentiments of the preceding sentence but merely provides a concluding sentence to this paragraph, which otherwise might not have one.

This sentence, in a sudden and courageous burst of altruism, tries to abandon the self-referential mode but fails. This sentence tries again, but the attempt is doomed from the start.

This sentence, in a last-ditch attempt to infuse some iota of story line into this paralyzed prose piece, quickly alludes to Billy's frantic cover-up attempts, followed by a lyrical, touching, and beautifully written passage wherein Billy is reconciled with his father (thus resolving the subliminal Freudian conflicts obvious to any astute reader) and a final exciting police chase scene during which Billy is accidentally shot and killed by a panicky rookie policeman who is coincidentally named Billy. This sentence, although basically in complete sympathy with the laudable efforts of the preceding action-packed sentence, reminds the reader that such allusions to a story that doesn't, in fact, yet exist are no substitute for the real thing and therefore will not get the author (indolent goof-off that he is) off the proverbial hook.

Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph. Paragraph.

The purpose. Of this paragraph. Is to apologize. For its gratuitous use. Of. Sentence fragments. Sorry.

The purpose of this sentence is to apologize for the pointless and silly adolescent games indulged in by the preceding two paragraphs, and to express regret on the part of us, the more mature sentences, that the entire tone of this story is such that it can't seem to communicate a simple, albeit sordid, scenario.

This sentence wishes to apologize for all the needless apologies found in this story (this one included), which, although placed here ostensibly for the benefit of the more vexed readers, merely delay in a maddeningly recursive way the continuation of the by-now nearly forgotten story line.

This sentence is bursting at the punctuation marks with news of the dire import of self-reference as applied to sentences. a practice that could prove to be a veritable Pandora's box of potential havoc, for if a sentence can refer or allude to itself, why not a lowly subordinate clause, perhaps this very clause? Or this sentence fragment? Or three words? Two words? One?

Perhaps it is appropriate that this sentence gently and with no trace of condescension remind us that these are indeed difficult and uncertain times and that in general people just aren't nice enough to each other, and perhaps we, whether sentient human beings or sentient sentences, should just try harder. I mean, there is such a thing as free will, there has to be, and this sentence is proof of it! Neither this sentence nor you, the reader, is completely helpless in the face of all the pitiless forces at work in the universe. We should stand our ground, face facts, take Mother Nature by the throat and just try harder. By the throat. Harder. Harder, harder.


This is the title of this story, which is also found several times in the story itself.

This is the last sentence of the story. This is the last sentence of the story. This is the last sentence of the story. This is.


David Moser, Scientific American
reprinted in Metamagical Themas by Douglas Hofstadter


I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said, "Stop! Don't do it!"."Why shouldn't I?" he said. I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!" He said, "Like what?" I said, "Well, are you religious or Atheist?" He said, "religious." I said, "Me too! Are your christian or buddhist?" He said, "christian." I said, "Me too! Are you catholic or protestant?" He said, "protestant." I said, Me too! Are your episcopalian or baptist? He said, "baptist!" I said, "Wow! Me too! Are your baptist church of god or baptist church of the lord? He said, baptist church of god!" I said, "Me too! Are you original baptist church of god or are you reformed baptist church of god?" He said, "reformed baptist church of god!"I said, "Me too! Are you reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?" He said, "reformed baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!" I said, "Die, Heretic scum!" and pushed him off.

The World According to Student Bloopers

One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. I have pasted together the following "history" of the world from certifiably genuine student bloopers collected by teachers throughout the United States, from eight grade through college level. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot.

The inhabitants of Egypt were called mummies. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cultivated by irritation. The Egyptians built the Pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. The Pramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.

The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked "Am I my brother's son?" God asked Abraham to sacrifice Issac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Issac, stole his brother's birthmark. Jacob was a partiarch who brought up his twelve sons to be partiarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.

Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led them to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fougth with the Philatelists, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines.

Without the Greeks, we wouldn't have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns - Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in "The Illiad", by Homer. Homer also wrote the "Oddity", in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.

Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.

In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athen was democratic because the people took the law into their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn't climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.

Eventually, the Ramons conquered the Geeks. History call people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlic in their hair. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March killed him because they thought he was going to be made king. Nero was a cruel tyrany who would torture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them.

Then came the Middle Ages. King Alfred conquered the Dames, King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery, King Harlod mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings, Joan of Arc was cannonized by George Bernard Shaw, and the victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks. Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offense.

In midevil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the time was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote literature. Another tale tells of William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head.

The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of their human being. Martin Luther was nailed to the church door at Wittenberg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death, being excommunicated by a bull. It was the painter Donatello's interest in the female nude that made him the father of the Renaissance. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented the Bible. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper.

The government of England was a limited mockery. Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee. Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen." As a queen she was a success. When Elizabeth exposed herself before her troops, they all shouted "hurrah." Then her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.

The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespear. Shakespear never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He lived in Windsor with his merry wives, writing tragedies, comedies and errors. In one of Shakespear's famous plays, Hamlet rations out his situation by relieving himself in a long soliloquy. In another, Lady Macbeth tries to convince Macbeth to kill the King by attacking his manhood. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet. Writing at the same time as Shakespear was Miquel Cervantes. He wrote "Donkey Hote". The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote "Paradise Lost." Then his wife died and he wrote "Paradise Regained."

During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe. Later the Pilgrims crossed the Ocean, and the was called the Pilgrim's Progress. When they landed at Plymouth Rock, they were greeted by Indians, who came down the hill rolling their was hoops before them. The Indian squabs carried porposies on their back. Many of the Indian heroes were killed, along with their cabooses, which proved very fatal to them. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers. Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

One of the causes of the Revolutionary Wars was the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their pacels through the post without stamps. During the War, Red Coats and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls. The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing. Finally, the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis.

Delegates from the original thirteen states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin had gone to Boston carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm. He invented electricity by rubbing cats backwards and declared "a horse divided against itself cannot stand." Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

George Washington married Matha Curtis and in due time became the Father of Our Country. Then the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. Under the Constitution the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.

Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. When Lincoln was President, he wore only a tall silk hat. He said, "In onion there is strength." Abraham Lincoln write the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope. He also signed the Emasculation Proclamation, and the Fourteenth Amendment gave the ex-Negroes citizenship. But the Clue Clux Clan would torcher and lynch the ex-Negroes and other innocent victims. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a supposedly insane actor. This ruined Booth's career.

Meanwhile in Europe, the enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltare invented electricity and also wrote a book called "Candy". Gravity was invented by Issac Walton. It is chiefly noticeable in the Autumn, when the apples are flaling off the trees.

Bach was the most famous composer in the world, and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian and half English. He was very large. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.

France was in a very serious state. The French Revolution was accomplished before it happened. The Marseillaise was the theme song of the French Revolution, and it catapulted into Napoleon. During the Napoleonic Wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes. Then the Spanish gorrilas came down from the hills and nipped at Napoleon's flanks. Napoleon became ill with bladder problems and was very tense and unrestrained. He wanted an heir to inheret his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn't bear him any children.

The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West. Queen Victoria was the longest queen. She sat on a thorn for 63 years. He reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplatory of a great personality. Her death was the final event which ended her reign.

The nineteenth century was a time of many great inventions and thoughts. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick Raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Samuel Morse invented a code for telepathy. Louis Pastuer discovered a cure for rabbis. Charles Darwin was a naturalist who wrote the "Organ of the Species". Madman Curie discovered radium. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers.

The First World War, caused by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by a surf, ushered in a new error in the anals of human history.

From Anguished English by Richard Lederer

Actual Air Force Maintenance Complaints

Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by US Air Force pilots and the replies from the maintenance crews. "Squawks" are problem listings that pilots generally leave for maintenance crews.

Problem: "Left inside main tire almost needs replacement."
Solution: "Almost replaced left inside main tire."

Problem: "Test flight OK, except autoland very rough."
Solution: "Autoland not installed on this aircraft."

Problem #1: "#2 Propeller seeping prop fluid."
Solution #1: "#2 Propeller seepage normal."
Problem #2: "#1, #3, and #4 propellers lack normal seepage."

Problem: "The autopilot doesn't."
Signed off: "IT DOES NOW."

Problem: "Something loose in cockpit."
Solution: "Something tightened in cockpit."

Problem: "Evidence of hydraulic leak on right main landing gear."
Solution: "Evidence removed."

Problem: "DME volume unbelievably loud."
Solution: "Volume set to more believable level."

Problem: "Dead bugs on windshield."
Solution: "Live bugs on order."

Problem: "Autopilot in altitude hold mode produces a 200 fpm descent."
Solution: "Cannot reproduce problem on ground."

Problem: "IFF inoperative."
Solution: "IFF inoperative in OFF mode."

Problem: "Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick."
Solution: "That's what they're there for."

Problem: "Number three engine missing."
Solution: "Engine found on right wing after brief search."

Hugh Gallagher, Harper's Magazine, August 1990, p. 36

This essay, by Hugh Gallagher, won first prize in the humor category of the 1990 Scholastic Writing Awards. It appeared in the May issue of Literary Cavalcade, a magazine of contemporary fiction and student writing published by Scholastic in New York City. Gallagher, who is eighteen, grew up in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, and will attend New York University this fall.


I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.

I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.

Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets. I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hand gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge.

I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned my fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.

I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradies Lost, Moby-Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish and entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.

I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami. Years ago I discovered the meaning of life by forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four-course meals using only a Mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis.

But I have not yet gone to college.

Abbott and Costello's famous "Who's On First?" routine

Bud Abbot and Lou Costello:
Lou: I love baseball. When we get to St. Louis, will you tell me the guys' name on the team so when I go to see them in that St. Louis ball park I'll be able to know those fellows?
Bud: All right. but you know, strange as it may seems, they give ball players nowadays very peculiar names, nick names, like "Dizzy Dean." Now on the St. Louis team we have Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third --
Lou: That's what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellows on the St. Louis team.
Bud: I'm telling you. Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third --
Lou: You know the fellows' names?
Bud: Yes.
Lou: Well, then who's playin' first.
Bud: Yes.
Lou: I mean the fellow's name on first base.
Bud: Who.
Lou: The fellow playin' first base for St. Louis.
Bud: Who.
Lou: The guy on first base.
Bud: Who is on first.
Lou: Well, what are you askin' me for?
Bud: I'm not asking you -- I'm telling you. WHO IS ON FIRST.
Lou: I'm asking you -- who's on first?
Bud: That's the man's name!
Lou: That's who's name?
Bud: Yes.
Lou: Well, go ahead and tell me.
Bud: Who.
Lou: The guy on first.
Bud: Who.
Lou: The first baseman.
Bud: Who is on first.
Lou: Have you got a first baseman on first?
Bud: Certainly.
Lou: Then who's playing first?
Bud: Absolutely.
Lou: (pause) When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?
Bud: Every dollar of it. And why not, the man's entitled to it.
Lou: Who is?
Bud: Yes.
Lou: So who gets it?
Bud: Why shouldn't he? Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.
Lou: Who's wife?
Bud: Yes. After all the man earns it.
Lou: Who does?
Bud: Absolutely.
Lou: Well all I'm trying to find out is what's the guys name on first base.
Bud: Oh, no, no, What is on second base.
Lou: I'm not asking you who's on second.
Bud: Who's on first.
Lou: That's what I'm trying to find out.
Bud: Well, don't change the players around.
Lou: I'm not changing nobody.
Bud: Now, take it easy.
Lou: What's the guy's name on first base?
Bud: What's the guy's name on second base.
Lou: I'm not askin' ya who's on second.
Bud: Who's on first.
Lou: I don't know.
Bud: He's on third. We're not talking about him.
Lou: How could I get on third base?
Bud: You mentioned his name.
Lou: If I mentioned the third baseman's name, who did I say is playing third?
Bud: No, Who's playing first.
Lou: Stay offa first, will ya?
Bud: Well what do you want me to do?
Lou: Now what's the guy's name on first base?
Bud: What's on second.
Lou: I'm not asking ya who's on second.
Bud: Who's on first.
Lou: I don't know.
Bud: He's on third.
Lou: There I go back on third again.
Bud: Well, I can't change their names.
Lou: Say, will you please stay on third base.
Bud: Please. Now what is it you want to know.
Lou: What is the fellow's name on third base.
Bud: What is the fellow's name on second base.
Lou: I'm not askin' ya who's on second.
Bud: Who's on first.
Lou: I don't know.
Lou: You got an outfield?
Bud: Oh, sure.
Lou: St. Louis has got a good outfield?
Bud: Oh, absolutely.
Lou: The left fielder's name?
Bud: Why.
Lou: I don't know, I just thought I'd ask.
Bud: Well, I just thought I'd tell you.
Lou: Then tell me who's playing left field.
Bud: Who's playing first.
Lou: Stay out of the infield!
Bud: Don't mention any names out here.
Lou: I want to know what's the fellow's name on left field?
Bud: What is on second.
Lou: I'm not askin' ya who's on second.
Bud: Who is on first.
Lou: I don't know.
Bud & Lou: (together and calmly) Third base.
Lou: And the left fielder's name?
Bud: Why.
Lou: Because.
Bud: Oh he's Center Field.
Lou: (whimpers) Center field.
Bud: Yes.
Lou: Wait a minute. You got a pitcher on this team.
Bud: Wouldn't this be a fine team without a pitcher.
Lou: I don't know. Tell me the pitcher's name.
Bud: Tomorrow.
Lou: You don't want to tell me today?
Bud: I'm tell you, man.
Lou: Then go ahead.
Bud: Tomorrow.
Lou: What time?
Bud: What time what?
Lou: What time tomorrow are you gonna tell me who's pitching?
Bud: Now listen, Who is not pitching. Who is on --
Bud: Then why come up here and ask?
Lou: I want to know what's the pitcher's name.
Bud: What's on second.
Lou: I don't know.
Lou: You gotta Catcher?
Bud: Yes.
Lou: The Catcher's name?
Bud: Today.
Lou: Today. And Tomorrow's pitching.
Bud: Now you've got it.
Lou: That's all. St. Louis has a couple of days on their team.
Bud: Well I can't help that.
Lou: You know I'm a good catcher too.
Bud: I know that.
Lou: I would like to play for the St. Louis team.
Bud: Well I might arrange that.
Lou: I would like to catch. Now I'm being a good Catcher, tomorrow's pitching on the team, and I'm catching.
Bud: Yes.
Lou: Tomorrow throws the ball and the guy up bunts the ball.
Bud: Yes.
Lou: Now when he bunts the ball -- me being a good catcher -- I want to throw the guy out a first base, so I pick up the ball and throw it to who?
Bud: Now that's the first thing you've said right.
Bud: Well, that's all you have to do.
Lou: Is to throw it to first base.
Bud: Yes.
Lou: Now who's got it?
Bud: Naturally.
Lou: Who has it?
Bud: Naturally.
Lou: Naturally.
Bud: Naturally.
Lou: O.K.
Bud: Now you've got it.
Lou: I pick up the ball and I throw it to Naturally.
Bud: No you don't you throw the ball to first base.
Lou: Then who gets it?
Bud: Naturally.
Lou: O.K.
Bud: All right.
Lou: I throw the ball to Naturally.
Bud: You don't you throw it to Who.
Lou: Naturally.
Bud: Well, naturally. Say it that way.
Lou: That's what I said.
Bud: You did not.
Lou: I said I'd throw the ball to Naturally.
Bud: You don't. You throw it to Who.
Lou: Naturally.
Bud: Yes.
Lou: So I throw the ball to first base and Naturally gets it.
Bud: No. You throw the ball to first base--
Lou: Then who gets it?
Bud: Naturally.
Lou: That's what I'm saying.
Bud: You're not saying that.
Lou: I throw the ball to Naturally.
Bud: You throw it to Who!
Lou: Naturally.
Bud: Naturally. Well say it that way.
Bud: Now don't get excited.
Lou: Who's gettin excited!! I throw the ball to first base--
Bud: Then Who gets it.
Lou: (annoyed) HE BETTER GET IT!
Bud: That's it. All right now Take it easy.
Lou: Hrmmph.
Bud: Hrmmph.
Lou: Now I throw the ball to first base, whoever it is grabs the ball, so the guy runs to second.
Bud: Uh-huh.
Lou: Who picks up the ball and throws it to what. What throws it to I don't know. I don't know throws it back to tomorrow -- a triple play.
Bud: Yeah. It could be.
Lou: Another guy gets up and it's a long fly ball to center. Why? I don't know, he's on third, and I don't give a darn.
Bud: What did you say.
Lou: I said "I don't give a darn."
Bud: Oh, that's our shortstop!