MADLIBBING: The Chronicle's "First Person" Columns

Welcome back to my Friday Madlibs game.

Here's what got me thinking. There are quite a few unintentional genres of writing and stories that are appearing on the web these days. This game is designed to poke fun at them.

This time, we'll start with something fairly common. I've been reading blogs for awhile now, and other things besides, and it seems there's some frustration with the Chronicle of Higher Ed's "First Person" columns. When I read them, they seem formulaic. You can predict with reasonable accuracy how any "First Person" column is going to begin. They're a genre unto themselves. Only the nouns have been changed to protect the innocent.

Honestly, when you read them too often they start to seem like those letters to the Penthouse forum or the columns in Cosmo about women who got their periods at inconvenient times. They're painful to read even as they seem just a little (or sometimes a lot) made-up. So what I did was to come up with a brief Madlibs style "First Person" teaser to play with. Tired of reading about how some one's wife/Magic 8 Ball/stamp collection helped them get through their dissertation? Propose something better.

Or maybe more importantly, if I'm right and have cracked the formula, then here's an easy way to get published. Here, then, is my guess at the formula for the Chronicle's "First Person" pieces and how your answers worked out. I think we have some contenders!

First, the formula:

First Person: "What your nemesis would title your biography"

A name of a degree or achievement chronicles their struggle to gain something you've lost (or at least never found) with the help of a gift you'd been given at graduation, ultimately deciding that name of a degree or achievement was not only adjective but a complete waste of noun and not what they thought it would be when they started because they should have focused on something you're interested in that no one else is instead.

And now....your answers!

K gives us:
First Person: "The Destroyer of Sacred Idols"

A writer of a book chapter on "Firefly" chronicles their struggle to gain the ability to drink without getting drunk with the help of the ability to not get much sleep, ultimately deciding that the ability to drink without getting drunk was not only creaky but a complete waste of archives and not what they thought it would be when they started because they should have focused on
whether there's a link between speed-reading at high comprehension levels and sight-reading music at high performance levels....in the same person instead.
Dr. Crazy gives us:
First Person: "Bright Gumdrop Unicorn"

A Doctor of Philosophy chronicles their struggle to
gain her virginity with the help of the complete unabridged audio version of "Ulysses," ultimately deciding that gaining her virginity was not only luscious but a complete of apples and not what they thought it would be when they started because they should have focused on "Booknotes" on C-Span instead.
Samantha gives us:
First Person: "Sarcastic Missy Know-it-all"

An MVP chronicles their struggle to gain a trust fund
with the help of a Christmas card, ultimately deciding that gaining a trust fund was not only sparkly but a complete waste of keys and not what they thought it would be when they started because they should have focused on Dorothy Stratten instead.
kermitthefrog gives us:
First Person: "She Smiles Until She Spits In Your Eye"

A Guitar Hero Champion chronicles their struggle to gain God with the help of a Cuisinart food processor, ultimately deciding that gaining God was not only spiky but a complete waste of a chaise lounge because they should have focused on their leg hair instead.
adjunct whore gives us:
First Person: "Whore"

Clara, in the Nutrcracker chronicles their struggle to gain peace with the help of a Mac laptop, ultimately deciding that gaining peace was not only sordid but a complete waste of a multitude because they should have focused on singing, dancing, and playing instead.
Rebecca gives us:
First Person: "God hates a know-it-all"

An MBA chronicles their struggle to gain 50 lbs, with the help of $5,000,000, ultimately deciding that gaining 50 lbs was not only sexy but a complete waste of a vampire because they should have focused on Moonlight (the TV show) instead.
Sisyphus gives us:
First Person: "The Boring Confessions of a Smartass"

The Best in Show chronicles their struggle to gain treasure, with the help of super powers, ultimately deciding that gaining treasure was not only mellifluous but a complete waste of a zebra because they should have focused on punctuation instead.
Ash gives us:
First Person: "She Uses Her Powers for Evil"

A mother chronicles their struggle to gain the ability to suffer fools with the help of therapy, ultimately deciding that gaining the ability to suffer fools was not only perky but a complete waste of hegemony because they should have focused on frogs instead.
So how about it, dear readers, have we cracked the formula? And if so, which of our entries should we try and submit?

Comments

5 Responses to “MADLIBBING: The Chronicle's "First Person" Columns”
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K said...

Too funny! A classic in the style of the Little Professor's multiple-choice First Person game.

November 30, 2007 at 5:23 PM
Sisyphus said...

Hey, that last one totally works!

They all have their absurdist charms, though, that's for sure...

November 30, 2007 at 5:52 PM
kermitthefrog said...

Very snazzy.

I like the phrase "a complete waste of a zebra."

November 30, 2007 at 6:29 PM
Belle said...

Love it! I hate wasting zebras.

Because you have the wit, wisdom and talent, you've been tagged with the 7 meme!

December 1, 2007 at 11:20 AM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

I suspect that was probably more fun for me than anyone, but I do think it's funny that none of those really seem like too far a stretch.

I was thinking, similarly, that it would be possible to Madlib job acceptance/rejection letters, statements of teaching philosophy, and job ads (which I still may do). In any case, thanks to the lot of you for participating and reading.

December 1, 2007 at 4:24 PM