I know what you’re thinking: Hey, William, your writing skills are superior to that of most lower forms of primate, maybe even moderately-trained chimpanzees, so why don’t you try to write a novel?
The answer is simple: I suck at writing fiction.
Believe me, I’ve tried. In fact, I recently found a whole box of manuscripts I wrote over the past 25-years; almost all of it fiction and almost all of it horrible.
Let me give you an example of just how bad it is by reporting the actual reaction of someone who just finished reading one of my novellas. This is an actual quote by a real person—remember, she is reacting to a serious science fiction thriller which was not meant to be funny:
“You can’t have Santa Claus breaking his colostomy bag! What if kids read this?”
In my defense, I don’t think young children would be reading a science fiction thriller involving Santa Claus crash-landing his sleigh in a dense Wisconsin forest where he is knocked unconscious and his mechanical reindeer go haywire to terrorize a group of hunters. And, yes, he broke his colostomy bag upon impact.
Here’s another synopsis from a much more sophisticated idea—again, not meant to be funny: a couple of cops fight crime as superheros, but they only think they’re superheros because they are abusing high-powered hallucinogenic drugs. The drugs give them the false perception that they have superhuman abilities. Believing the drugs are responsible for their powers, they shoot-up together just before going after criminals. “Needle-drug power… ACTIVATE!”
What is wrong with me?
I tell it from a split viewpoint. From the cops’ point of view, they are running at supersonic speed and flying like Superman, but from the criminal’s point of view, one cop is pantomiming a slow-motion sprint while the other is running around with his arms out in front saying, “Whoosh!”
Ridiculous, right? But this crazy scenario is critical to the story because it’s what distracts the criminals, catching them off-guard and allowing them to be captured.
Perhaps the funniest aspect of all is the title: Drug Cops.
Many of you may be wondering why I don’t just label it as a humor and let it fly. The reason is that it works as humor when it’s condensed into a short synopsis like I’ve done here, but the story stretches out to over 60-pages and the ridiculous premise can’t sustain itself. It’s horrible.
On some level I realize I’m writing something silly, but I’m not doing that consciously. I’m trying to write serious fiction with a slightly off-center premise. After reading some of these manuscripts I can see the problem is that my “slightly off-center” runs to the edge and jumps off.
About one-third of the manuscripts are what I would consider mainstream enough to work as serious fiction, but every single one of those are unfinished. At best, they go about two or three pages. Apparently, the premise wasn’t insane enough to hold my interest.
The tragic thing about all this is that fiction seems to come very easily to me. I can spit out page after page in the blink of an eye; whereas I’ve been tinkering with this short masterpiece of journalism you’re reading now for the past six hours.
Since I wouldn’t feel right making you read all this without giving you a sample of my fiction, I’m going to publish here, for the first time, the very first piece of fiction I ever wrote. It was written during Mrs. Gibbons’ eighth-grade typing class while everyone else was typing their assignment. I was supposed to be typing the assignment as well, but chose to use my time on the typewriter to produce what I thought would be one of the world’s greatest works of fiction.
I have edited it only for format (since I didn’t know you were supposed to separate opposing dialog to a new paragraph) and for the correct spelling of the word “booger.” Notice that the first sentence contains a slight variation of the biggest cliché in the history of fiction.
One dark and dreary night, Bud and I were floating down the nostril. Stalactites of snot were hanging from the ceiling. We came around a corner in a dark tunnel when all of the sudden a giant booger attacks! Bud, thinking quickly, grabbed his trusty icepick and stabbed it in the forehead until it was dead.
“There are a lot of boogers around here,” I said.
“So many boogers,” Said Bud.
“There must be a million of them,” I said.
I wrote that when I was, what… thirteen? I don’t remember my age in the eighth-grade, but I do remember getting in major trouble for writing it.
When the bell rang to go to the next class, I was in such a hurry to get out of there that I left the story in the typewriter where Mrs. Gibbons found it. The next day I learned she was not fond of booger-oriented fiction and actually preferred I stick to her assignments. She marched me to the vice-principal’s office where she presented him with my work.
The two of them sat me down in the waiting room while they went into Mr. Peterson’s office to discuss my fate. A few moments later, Mrs. Gibbons emerged looking twice as pissed as when she brought me in there. She passed me without so much as a glance, then disappeared into the hallway.
My heart was pounding as I waited. Finally, Mr. Peterson called me into his office.
To my great relief, I discovered he was a big fan of booger stories.
A couple days ago, Darren Rowse over at ProBlogger offered up this 7 Link Challenge. The object is to link to 7 posts that fit into these 7 themes. Here are mine:
1. Your First Post — Dead Rooster Takes Flight. This is it — the one that started it all! It was my very first blog post on this site. I never thought anyone ever read it until almost 2-years after I wrote it when someone finally left the first comment.
2. A Post You Enjoyed Writing the Most — Dead Rooster Survives Bug Attack on Universal Mummy Coaster. This post, according to my readers, is BY FAR the funniest thing I ever wrote on this blog. There are no less than four comments by people that confess to peeing their pants while reading it. It’s interesting how the posts I enjoy writing the most are the one’s that are the most successful (except the one I listed below at #6).
4. A Post on Someone Else’s Blog That You Wish You’d Written — I May Be Unemployed, But I’ve Got Big Plans. I could have chose almost anything from Margaret’s blog Nanny Goats In Panties because I think she is one of the most entertaining writers out there. But, I chose this story because I laughed my ass off when I read it a couple of years ago and I never forgot it. Hilarious stuff!
5. A Post With a Title That You Are Proud Of — Hot Blonde Reveals Cruel Method to Increase Blog Traffic. Come on, admit it! This was a stroke of genius! OK, maybe not, but I was pretty proud of myself after I came up with this title. And, it wasn’t long after I wrote this that my blog was featured on CNN… coincidence? Another interesting fact: I came up with the title and then wrote a post to fit it.
6. A Post That You Wish More People Had Read — Dead Rooster: Confessions of a Dot Com Trillionaire. For some reason, this post just never got going. I thought it was one of the funniest things I’d ever wrote, but as usual, when I think something I wrote is funny, I’m the only one that thinks so.
7. Your Most Visited Post Ever — How to Get in the Mood to Write. This is my most visited blog post. I wrote it 2-years ago and still get a substantial amount of visitors to it week-in and week-out.
I hope you enjoyed this clip-show style blog post. Let me know if you take the challenge with your blog.
It’s true! The scourge of all web developers has died and gone to the fiery furnace where it belongs. If you are using IE6, be aware that you are floating down river on the bones of a dead browser.
IE6 has caused so many headaches for me over the years that about a year ago I simply quit worrying whether or not my blog loaded in it or not. If you are using IE6, you are definitely not seeing this blog as it was meant to be viewed. I have no idea what you’re seeing — like I said — I haven’t tested for IE6 in a long time.
And, it’s not only me, there are plenty of others that gave up on it, including the biggest dog of them all: Google. They phased out IE6 support on March 1st for Google Docs, Google Sites and announced YouTube will discontinue support on March 13th.
Of course, Microsoft, the creator of this horrid monster, hasn’t exactly killed it off yet; they’re keeping it on life support until officially pronouncing it dead in May of 2014 when they will stop support completely.
As a result of Microsoft’s slow hand to pull-the-plug, Ryan Parr and David Stewart have created an IE6 Countdown to Death website complete with a fully functioning countdown timer leading up to the big day.
Personally, even though it’s been dead to me for over a year and Woopra Analytics is reporting only 4% of my visitors are using the specific “IE version 6″ over the past month, I can’t wait ’til this thing is completely non-functional on the internet.
Aten Design Group, a design firm in Denver, Colorado, isn’t waiting. They held a funeral last night (March, 4th) at Forest Room 5, also in Denver. Photos of the event are rolling in as we speak:
If you’re still using IE6, it’s definitely time to upgrade. Aren’t you tired of seeing misaligned web pages, suffering browser crashes and getting infected by web bugs? If you are, just go to the official Internet Explorer 8 web page and upgrade now. Then come back and see what Dead Rooster actually looks like!
OK, let’s all just simmer down a little — this is Bobby Slayton we’re talking about here… if you were so easily offended, you shouldn’t have watched his hilarious 1-hour comedy special premiering this week on Showtime® (Premieres March 4th, 9/8c).
If you like, vicious, “Pit-Bull of Comedy” style stand-up routines, this Scarsdale, New York native will yank out your funny bone and crush your skull with it. He’s rude, crude and not afraid to burn every sniveling morsel of political correctness in his wake.
If all that didn’t chase you away, I have one last word of warning: the guy is hilarious. There’s a reason why he appears on Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time. He’s side-splitting funny and, while watching this special, you should seriously consider having an oxygen tank nearby to revive your uncontrollable laughter.
Here’s a taste of what you’ll see on March 4th:
Thanks for the laughs, Bobby! See you on Showtime® March 4th. And, thanks for doing the following special video “shout-out” for Dead Rooster; it really means a lot to me. You’re the greatest!