Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chain of Fools

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who respond to chain letters and those who don't.

Until just recently, I had not participated in a chain letter since I was a kid. I can't remember the premise of that long-ago letter, but I do remember dutifully copying it in my best handwriting 10 times, getting my mom to stamp and mail the letters, and waiting. The anticipation of literally hundreds of responses was both delicious and excruciating. Back then, getting a letter in the mail was cause for celebration, and I couldn't wait. But I did wait. And wait. And the letters never came.

Disappointment doesn't begin to cover it. I felt devastated, abandoned and totally alone. Skip ahead about 35 years or so.

Email has reinvigorated the chain letter. I try to be judicious about what I pass along, but I'm sure I still forward too often. Imagine my surprise when I recently received an invitation via snail mail from my aunt to participate in a virtual book club. All I had to do was mail one book and 10 letters, and I would get hundreds of books in the mail. I took the bait. In sweet vindication of that childhood trauma, I have actually received two books. How cool is that?

Now it seems I have been snookered into a virtual version of this pyramid scheme. One of my favorite writers, Cindy Fey, tagged me to participate in something called "Six Random Things About Me."  Here goes:

Un: When I read a book, I read everything — the acknowledgements, the copyright, even the part that says "This book was typeset in in 11 point Goudy™ Old Style, originally created by famous type designer Frederic W. Goudy in 1915 …"

Deux: When I die, I want to be reincarnated as Van Morrison, specifically during the "Moondance" years, and more specifically singing "Caravan."  (Click here for a sound clip.

Trois: When I was a kid, we went camping a lot. In recent discussions with my family, I have realized that I have relatively few memories of those trips, as I am extremely allergic to mosquito bites and spent most of the time stoned on Benadryl.

Quatre: I frequently start deep, personal, often intimate conversations with complete strangers in elevators or in line at the grocery.

Cinq: I don't really speak French. In high school, we studied French cooking, listened to French rock and roll (a true oxymoron), and conjugated a few verbs. As a freshman in college, I was somehow scheduled into an intensive French class — two hours a day (starting at 8:00 a.m.), five days a week. The first words out of my Parisian-born teacher's mouth were: "Zees will be the last words you 'ear me speak en Anglais." I raised my hand and said: "I do not belong in zis class."

Six: Though I have a brilliant sense of direction, I have only the barest knowledge of world geography. This is not my fault. When I was a kid, the Soviet Union was still intact and our social studies books printed maps of the USSR all in black (or sometimes red – Communist Red) and labeled it as "behind the Iron Curtain." Since then, borders have moved, whole countries and cities have been renamed (is it Bombay or Mumbai?) and I just can't keep up.

There you have my scintillating six. Here are the rules to this game, as plagiarized directly from Cindy's blog, followed by the six people I have tagged:

The Rules:
Link to the person who tagged you (i.e., me).
Post the rules on your blog.
Write six random things about yourself in a blog post.
Tag six people.
Let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on one of their recent posts.
Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.

My taggees:

Becky (my Becky, not Cindy's Becky)

Critique group buddy Angela Allyn at Domestic Blitz

Ardis at Hilltop: The View from Here and Now (another wonderful writer)

Writer and friend Sue Roupp at rouppgroupink

Another writer acquaintance, Beverly Patt, who's first book is due out from Bloomingtree Press this year. 

Web goddess and OCWW member Helen Gallagher at Release Your Writing.

You all have my sincerest apologies. Feel free to comment by clicking here or email me at 2KoPeople@gmail.com.

Photo credit: Click via MorgueFile.com.


Cindy Fey said...

Awesome and funny. I love reading the book ephemera too! You find such interesting stuff - where that quote on page 247 came from, who the author is grateful to OR NOT, sometimes even the history of the font used.

Computer Clarity © 2004 said...

I'm with you, Susan. Thanks for linking to me and I'll do the same. Enjoyed your chain letter missive way more than I thought I would.


Susan Bearman said...

Thanks, Helen. Is that what's known as damning with faint praise?

Bill Cameron said...

I always read the colophon, and I check the copyright page to see who designed the cover and the book interior. But I admit I skip the rest of the stuff.

I'm glad you followed the chain links backward. This was a real hoot. Parlez-vous de fromage?

Susan Bearman said...

Mais oui! Particulièrement Brie, Camembert et Coulommiers. Ils sont délicieux.

Bill Cameron said...

Je suis Whiz de Fromage.

Anonymous said...

I like the picture of the mailboxes

Some things about me are too strange to publish in a blog.

That's that then.

Anonymous said...

I'm with non descript comment leaver, I like the picture of the mailboxes. I always wanted to know what would happen if , when you got a chain mail letter that said "send this to X number of people and press the __ key and the coolest thing will happen." I always thought it would crash my computer so I never did it, but I wondered who made all of that up.

Anyway: I like your six things Maman, (parlez-vous fromage? Oui, parlez-vous francais, aussi.) Yes, I'm with the other people, I read all the stuff at the beginning of the book.

Julie Hyzy said...

Hi Susan ...
Thanks for visiting my six things - I truly enjoyed yours. Love the French words - and Bill's addition of Whiz de fromage. LOL

I had a moment when my oldest was about six. She "tested" my eyes in the back of my head, asking "What am I doing now?" What she didn't realize is that I was doing dishes in front of a window, at night... and could see every move she made. If she had any doubt about that extra pair of eyes, it was immediately dispelled. LOL And then she reported back to her younger sisters. I got a lot of mileage from that one moment!


Peter Rozovsky said...

I read ancillary materials in books, too, but not quite as religiously as you do. I enjoy the information about typefaces and their histories. I am also embarrassed to admit that I used to check the birth years for authors on the copyright page. It's fortunate that right around the time I could have started to have big jealousy issues with authors younger than I am, publishers stopped including this information.
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