Sunday, September 25, 2016

Death Laughter, Sestina Monster, Shameless Post Shirking

Last night, Mr. Typist and I indulged in a spontaneous binge-watch of “The IT Crowd.” It’s the one show that makes me helpless with laughter--I mean the gasping, tear-streaming, could-actually-die-of-laughter sort of laughing. The episode that really did it for me was the one where Moss, Roy and Jen go to the theater to see a musical, and hilarity ensues when Roy uses the disabled restroom, accidently trips the emergency alarm, and has to spend the entire evening pretending to be paraplegic because he can’t get himself untangled from a series of panicked lies he tells when the staff breaks down the door to rescue him. One ridiculous complication after another ensues, and the episode ends with Roy being carted off on a bus to another town far outside of London.

It was absolutely genius comedy writing.  When I broke it down afterwards, (after I wiped away the last tear and finally stopped hitching) I realized that what it made it so funny wasn’t the situation itself—it’s Roy’s total, unfailing commitment to the lie. He is so terrified of getting in trouble for using the disabled restroom that he will endure any number of absurdities to avoid being caught, until he ends up so entrenched in the fiction that it’s impossible to own up to the truth. I’ve long had a fascination with funny writing, and this is some of the best. I still have the idea in the back of my head that one of these days I’m going to write a stand-up set or a comedy sketch, but I keep running up against the problem of not really knowing how to be purposely funny.  It seems like a very technical thing to me, and I find it intimidating.

Well, I’m at it again with sestinas. I don’t know why I do this to myself. Now I’m writing one about The Star in the major arcana of the Tarot. I’m afraid, dear readers, that this is about to become a thing. And by that, I mean an entire chapbook of sestinas about each card in the major arcana. Since there twenty-two of them, it’s going to be long haul, at the end of which any hair that I have not ripped out will be shock-white and I’ll be rocking myself back and forth in a closet, softly sobbing.

I worked out today, and as such, I’m grumpy and sore and I really just want to play video games. After a series of false starts, I found “Echos of Soul”, this afternoon, which is turning out to be exactly the sort of mindless entertainment my brain is craving after spending all day yesterday slaving over a hot sestina. All that to say I’m cutting this post short so I can go shoot magic ice shards at swamp giants. Here’s a clip from “The IT Crowd.”

--Kristen McHenry

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