Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Something to read that's not a book

Oh my days.

I got a parcel in the post yesterday from my Mum. She had hinted to me that there was a wee treat winging it's way to Wales from the US. Her clue was It is something to read that's not a book.

What could it be? She also said that in no uncertain terms that I would love it.

She was right. I opened it on my way to work and laughed out loud the whole way to the shop. Not just a titter, but a loud guffaw like this:

Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Admittedly, several people stopped and stared and looked upon me most curiously, but I could not stop myself.

So what was it, you ask? Oh best beloved it was this:

Do I love Doctor Who? Hells yeah. Do I love Mad Libs? A resounding HELLS YEAH!

I had not thought about Mad Libs for years--decades even. They were a huge staple of my childhood. Do you remember Scholastic? If you grew up in the States then you probably got a leaflet full of enticing, reasonably priced books sent home from school on a Friday and if you were lucky you got to bring it back on Monday with some money and order some books. Then came the delicious anticipation of waiting two weeks until the Scholastic box arrived in your classroom and you waiting impatiently for your teacher to find a moment to sort the right books to the right person. Would they manage it by the end of the day or would you have to agonisingly wait the whole night before your new books were put into your hot sweaty hands the following day? They never would give you the new books first thing as they (rightly) knew little sods like me would be sneaking a peek under their desk rather than paying attention to the lesson at hand. You had to wait until right before the bell. It was exquisite agony!

I was always blessed. My parents always, without fail let me order books from the leaflet of dreams any time it was ever sent home. I still have a few books that I ordered as a child such as my copy of Clifford the Big Red Dog which includes my name in a childish pencil scrawl.

When I was teaching in Louisiana we got several leaflets from Scholastic and various other companies which I dutifully sorted out all the $1 books and photocopied them onto one page so my kids could choose good quality books at affordable prices and not be tempted into sadness by books they could not afford. They could pay in instalments if needed. A few pennies here and there, a quarter every once in a while and soon they had the money. I also paid the difference if they were a few pennies short of their goal as I know the value of having books to read that belong to you.

But I digress.

Mad Libs. I ordered one every single time Scholastic had them in the leaflet. Every. Single.Time. I found them hysterical. I loved the randomness of the way they came out--sometimes silly, sometimes hilarious, sometimes dumb, sometimes weird.

I had special, favourite ways of doing certain clues.

A liquid was always pee or nitro glycerine (because bodily functions and blowing stuff up is funny) and a female's name was always Farrah Fawcett (because I was obsessed with Charlie's Angels. C'mon--it was the 70's) and a male's name was always Shaun Cassidy(because I was in lurve with him. Again--it was the 70's--although a few years later I decorated his album cover with a green marker giving him green measles and snot because I was showing my distain for him and all he stood for!) A number when I was alone was always a google because my dad told me it was the biggest number--a 1 followed by 100 zeros. We used to say to each other I love you a google. Other less educated friends used to say I was making it up so I just used to say a billion or a trillion when playing with others to avoid being beat up.

Now, as an educator, I can really see that they are sneakily educational. I mean--you have to know the parts of speech to fill one out properly.

If after all my rhapsodising you are thinking--what in the world is she talking about--then I will explain. Basically, they take a mundane passage and leave out words. you randomly fill in the missing parts of speech (no peeking!) and read it out and pee your pants laughing.

So you might get something like this:
One of the Doctor's oldest foes are the depraved jaguars known as the Daleks. The Doctor has chased these terrible and curly creatures from the North Pole to Wales.

This Doctor Who themed one is particularly funny with titles like The Ood One Out (geddit?) and Judoon Platoon.

Thanks Mum! This has made me relive my childhood--all the best bits--not the being beaten up by people who couldn't understand my genius bits.

Now all I need is a blue raspberry slushie while I do my Mad Libs and I am transported back to the days of my childhood.

Who needs a TARDIS when you have these?  

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