Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chamomile Tea

Years ago a link to a funny story on the internet crossed my desk. I captured it, since it was funny and I'm a humorist. (Really. Go look at my Linked-In profile. It says so.)
I had my kids read it and hopefully they understand some of the underlying concepts. Even if they don't, it's become a family chuckle during some situations to roll our eyes and simply mutter the word "Chamomile." We all know what it means. Occasionally I even work it into one of my stories.
Without more introduction, here is the story as I got it years ago.

Remember the book "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"? Well, here's a prime example offered by an English professor at an American University.
"Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to reread what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking and anything you wish to say must be written on the paper. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."
The following was actually turned in by two of my English students: Rebecca and Jim.
(First paragraph by Rebecca)
At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.
(Second paragraph by Jim)
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago.
"A.S. Harris to Geostation 17, he said into his trans- galactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.
(Rebecca) He bumped his head and died almost immediately but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed hurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?"she pondered wistfully.
(Jim) Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through the congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret Mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow 'em out of the sky!"
(Rebecca) This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.
(Jim) Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. "Oh shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of !@$%ING TEA??? Oh no, I'm such an air headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels."
(Rebecca) Asshole.
(Jim) Bitch.
(Rebecca) Wanker.
(Jim) Slut.
(Rebecca) !@$% YOU - YOU NEANDERTHAL!!!
(Jim) Go drink some tea - whore.
(Teacher) A+ I really liked this one.


  1. Dearest beloved Dad,

    Still do like the story.

    Re: your link:


    Seriously, though, you can definitely provide a better link than that article. It's a little one-sided...and while I suppose this Game theory is one-sided, the fact that this piece (1) only quotes men (either as negative or positive examples) and (2) does not cite any scientific research at all weakens your point.

    1. Removed it. Didn't add anything. Neither did most of my commentary.

  2. Funny. Just grabbed the comment on the fly to give something to add flavor. Hardly even glanced at it, except to note that it was from Hawaii. Not that Hawaii lends credence to a theory of men and women, but it can't hurt.