30 December 2006

Never One To Turn Down A Ridiculous Task...

It's two in the morning, I can't breathe through my nose, and James' cat is intent on fucking with my discount store humidifier. I think this calls for a chain letter.

I really hate chain letters, and am working on purging superstition from my life. Not that chain letters were ever anything I believed in. But it's hard to turn these things down when you're called out by name, especially by a stranger.

Malachy Walsh at LitDept, he who dubbed this blog "a 'turg speaks," tagged three people to carry on this... well, if we were all on Livejournal it'd probably be a meme. But that word always reminds me of T., awful ex-coworker and total eljay addict, so we'll stick with Malachy's "chain letter for the blog age" christening. And he tagged me. And I'm pleased. So here we go. The rules is this:

Find the nearest book
Name the title and author
Turn to p. 123
Post sentences 6-8
Tag 3 more people

As I'm sitting basically across from the bookshelf that's next to my desk, there are many ways "nearest" could be interpreted. But if we're looking for the book that's really physically closest to any part of my body, and not just the one on the shelf at eye level and closest to the computer (Our Lady of the Forest, which was mostly a disappointment), it's actually the bag of books that Allison gave me (for lending) when we met up to see Children of Men yesterday. (Awesome movie, by the way. Really brilliant.) And so we have a winner.

Letter Perfect: the Marvelous History of Our Alphabet From A to Z by David Sacks. Page 123's 6th, 7th, and 8th sentences:

"In the Phoenician alphabet of 1000 B.C., the sixth letter was called waw. The name meant 'peg' in the Phoenician's Semitic tongue, and the written letter looked like a Y-shaped peg or bracket. (Through a different line of descent, the waw would also supply our letter Y.)"

[That's from the chapter on F. And this book is gonna be awesome.]

Just because I love it, here's why Malachy continued this chain:

"Normally, I'd ignore it, but Fred is not only a good friend, but he once did a performance art "chain letter" for me and not only was it hysterical, but bad luck did indeed follow me after I refused to perform it for anyone else."

How amazing does a performance art chain letter sound?

I'm going to follow Malachy's lead, and tag someone I know well, someone I know a little, and someone I don't know at all. The third is tough to choose, because with people I don't know at all, I get very insecure that they'll think this chain letter is really dorky and totally gay, and not do it, and hate me forever. Or worse, just not think I'm cool. (If the linguistics dork book didn't cover that already.) But, anyway, a big "tag you're it" to:

and the boys at Cole Slaw Blog (though I think only one of you reads this)

We're all scientific people, so I'm not worried you're gonna die if you don't play, but just remember how fragile I am, and how hard it'll hit me when I interpret your not participating as a sign of deep disdain for everything I do. Or just remember that you'll be missing out on some fun. Whatever motivation works.

And hey, I can breathe through my nose a little now! The chain letter really did bring me good fortune. Sweet.


CrimeNotes said...

I'll meet you halfway. I'mco embarrassed to say that the book closest to me is the new Thomas Pynchon novel "Against the Day." I'm embarrassed because it sounds pretentious and because I'll probably never read it. P. 123, L.6-8:

"Assbackwards as usual. You don't test when there's ships out, not even if it's one defenseless little cutter --"

"Defenseless! ..."

Malachy Walsh said...


And see, the coleslaw folks did it.

By the way, Fred really did do a performance art chain letter. Though I do not know what befell the other 30 people who saw it with me.