Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The game for which the object is to concoct an expansive set of words placed together to form identical context and meaning to an originally terse and uninteresting different yet smaller set of words that may have actually been a very well thought out and efficient communication.

That's the name of this game that I invented on the train. It probably already exists and probably also already has a boring name. That won't stop me from advertising it to you here and now.

The game is simple: take a simple sentence and attempt to re-write it in a manner that is ridiculously and unnecessarily obtusely verbose while maintaining the context and meaning of the original sentence. A good rewrite will be much more interesting or funny or entertaining than the original sentence.

Here are the base rules, designed to prevent exploiting the game in ways that are not fun. It goes without saying that these rules don't apply if the original sentence contains content that the rule aims to prevent (if this is the case you should probably pick another starting sentence):

  • No recursion or infinity scenarios: "I looked up at the stars and wondered if there was a spaceman near the star who was sitting there and looked up at the stars and wondered if there was a spaceman near the star who was sitting there and looked up at the stars and wondered if there was a spaceman near the star who..." Zzzzzzzzzzz.
  • No repetition: Referencing a character each time with the same descriptive text, "the tall dark-haired comedic ex-baseball player turned bar owner" is boring. Think of other ways to say it--you shouldn't be able to use a find and replace algorithm to change these references back to "Sam."
  • No enumeration (lists). If you take the original sentence "I went to the beach" and then try to list every step and turn you took to get there you have broken this rule: "I opened the door and stepped outside and closed the door and locked the door and stepped off the porch and walked down the driveway and put the car key in the lock and..." SNORE. You can break this rule only if you figure out how to make a list entertain the reader.

These rules boil down to a single rule: The new sentence must be interesting.

In addition to the base rules, I have come up with some guides in order to make attempts more difficult:

  • EASY: Commas, periods, exclamation points, semicolons, question marks, quotation marks, and parenthesis that occur in the original sentence will appear in the same (relative) position in the final sentence, with no additional marks. If the original sentence has a single comma to indicate a spot to take a breath, so must your re-write. You cannot add these punctuation marks for the purposes of extending your sentence (I think this should be a base rule).
  • MEDIUM: Along with the easy guideline: you are forbidden from using a thesaurus for the purposes of finding longer words. Think of this like the rule in that popular trademarked crossword-based game with wooden letter tiles and triple word scores where you can't use the dictionary to figure out if you can spell a word with your tiles Q, Z, J, L, X, U, and B.
  • HARD: Along with the easy and medium guidelines: you cannot use hyphens to string words together and you cannot use more than three logical operators (and, or, not) in the entire text (excluding original occurrences).

I suspect there is a proportional relationship between the amount of verbosity and the sentence's comedic properties.

Here are some examples. Please feel free to generate your own pompous flowery run-on sentences based on these examples, or start with a new simple sentence. The choice is up to you my friend.

Original: Dog bites man.

Canine devours hominid.

Ancient lupine descendent consumes by method of oral pre-emptive strike post-industrial bipedal big-brained chimpanzee cousin.

Original: "Hello, how are you?"

Good morrow to you my exquisitely presented gentle-sir or -madam, in this modern age of post-industrial high-technology society how do you find your worldview rewarding you?

Original: "I'm going to buy a pack of smokes."

"I am going to the store to buy a package of cigarettes."

"In a moment slightly in the future from the present the speaker of this sentence will transport to a location of commerce upon which said agent will enter into a market transaction involving the trade of government-issued denominations of currency that was earned in exchange for the scarce resource of time used in an effort to construct a modest facility for post-industrial bipedal large-brained chimpanzee cousins to engage in modern war-time battle simulators in the grand pursuit of leisure with a single container of twenty or twenty five cylindrical devices specifically designed and manufactured for the purposes of delivering an addictive narcotic by method of ignition and inhalation of the incomplete combustion into the lungs when it then enters into the blood stream where this highly potentially fatal intoxicant will travel throughout the host body and react with devices in the brain that will calm and relax and provide the drug's user with an opportunity to appear cool."

Saturday, July 10, 2010


$hurrr = "derp\n";
echo $hurrr;