Man named Monday finds he’d rather spend weekdays reading books than burning them

Yesterday, I had Health & Happiness at Rotary again, and my performance was… forgettable.

Rather than publish my routine here the way I usually do, I thought I’d tell you about a much better presentation recently by Ann Marie Stieritz.

It was an audience-participation thing, and I must admit that many of those sorts of attempts leave me kind of cold. I am, at best, a grumpy participant… What? You want me to get up and what? I’m not a pep rally guy, for instance. Unlike Andre Bauer (and, I recently learned, Mark Sanford) I could never have been a cheerleader.

But Ann Marie pulled me in by appealing to one of my worst features — the desire to show off the few quirky talents I have. So it was that when she talked about the faux-lit phenomenon of Twitterature, and gave the following examples, I was the obnoxious first person (or shared that distinction with someone) to call out the titles of the books they summarized:

  • Hero constantly spied upon by someone claiming to be older sibling. When he complains, finds himself with head in cage of rats.
  • Rich kid thinks everyone is fake except for his little sister.  Has breakdown.
  • Bloke takes boat trip in search of long-missing colleague who may well be impossible to find. Ends up wishing he hadn’t.
  • Group of teenagers adopt incomprehensible jargon, drink milk and discuss Beethoven before terrorising the community. All society’s fault.

Not much of a talent, really. The thing is, after writing headlines for a living, it would be pretty lame if I couldn’t recognize the headlinized versions of 1984, The Catcher in the Rye, Heart of Darkness and A Clockwork Orange, I’d be in trouble. Especially the last, all about Alex and his droogs peeting moloko plus to sharpen them up for a bit of the old ultraviolence in their platties of the night. Yes, a book about horrible people doing horrible things, but a wonderfully inventive use of language.

Some other good ones:

  • If you thought California was land of milk and honey, think again. Hard-working family could suffer and starve out in its golden valleys.
  • Dozen kids abandoned on desert island. Scene soon resembles 10-year-old’s birthday party, but worse.
  • Couple of drinkers with literary pretensions decide to travel across country, without plan or route. Not much happens. Which is the point.

And no, I didn’t remember them all or take notes that fast; I just asked Ann Marie yesterday to send me her notes from her presentation. I enjoyed this bit at the end, which shows what Odysseus would have written had he been on Twitter (as are the authors of Twitterature):

Calypso is the suxor for real. Seven years ago

Nice island (B). Anyone know how to get off this? Seven years ago

THNX for the raft! Laters! Four years ago

Just found new island.   Naked chicks.  FTW! Four years ago

Caught Demodocus show at dome.  GREAT!  Any one have vid? Four years ago

Just saw a dude with one eye! Four years ago

Circe is hot.  All my bros turned into pigs.  LULZ! Three years ago

Hot singing chicks! KTHXBAI Two years ago

Wrecked the boat.  Totaled.  Everyone dead.  FAIL Two years ago

Back Home!  Who r all these random dudes? Five minutes ago

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