“Let’s Get Out of Here Before They Kill Guy!”

I’d say Galaxy Quest was a guilt pleasure except that I don’t feel the slightest bit guilty.  If you haven’t watched the movie, it is about the crew of a show that’s a clear echo of Star Trek, many years after the show has been cancelled.  This is not a spoiler, so much as a setup: the characters, while doing the con circuit, get recruited by real aliens to help save their world.  The entire story is a send up on people confusing fiction with reality.

One of the “crew members” kidnaped was one of the “one episode” extras, the type that normally die, and so as things get dangerous, first he, and then the rest of the crew, become afraid he will die, because it would have happened in the fictional episode.  Their anxiety is heightened by the fact no one knows his last name, which was the mark of a character who would die. That this has nothing to do with the reality they’re facing is, of course, the source of the humor.

It is, of course, all the funnier, because it is a persistent human failing, and one we writers are particularly prone to.

When I ran a small press magazine I continuously got letters from people protesting a rejection.  “You can’t be rejecting me,” they said.  “I wrote the story exactly to your guidelines.”  (Of course most of the time I was rejecting the story because it was in fact VERY badly written, but sometimes I had to wonder what guidelines they’d read.)

This is why every writer in the world howls like an hyena at the cartoon of snoopy on top of his dog house, typing “Gentlemen, regarding the recent rejection slip you sent me. I think there might have been misunderstanding. What I really wanted was for you to publish my story, and send me fifty thousand dollars. Don’t you realize that?”

Because we know that in our hearts it SHOULD be that way.  It’s the way stories are.

We’re not alone in this view – if we were the US would not now be full of young people with useless college degrees (or ones that just aren’t useful in this economy) crying “I did what I should have done, I followed the rules.  I went to college.  Where is my high-paying job?”

People listen to stories.  You work hard, you follow the rules, you get your reward.

It is even true, to an extent.

If you work hard, if you follow the – sane – rules, if you look ahead to your future, you will be successful in some measure.  You might not be successful in the field you wish.  You might not be successful to the measure you wish, but you will (probably) keep body and soul together.  You will (probably) not end up in the gutter.  You will (probably) accomplish some part of what you want to do.

Why “probably”?  Because if massive civil unrest breaks out in 2 years, all bets are off.  It all depends on your skills at scavenging, not at whatever you studied in college.
Because if you tried to enter the field of buggy-whip-maker just after the advent of the automobile, nothing can save you from a fall.

Because stories are ordered, but life is a chaotic system.  You are the main character of your story, but there are millions of other main characters.  And there are chaotic, macro systems that spin things out of control.

While following the story – staying out of the forest, not talking to strange wolves – will keep you from the very worst outcomes, but it doesn’t guarantee the best.

Nothing guarantees the best outcome.

This is not a post saying “abandon all hope” – it’s just a reality check.  There are no guarantees in writing, but there are no guarantees in life, particularly not in the time of catastrophic change we live in.  (And no, the genii can’t be put back in the bottle there.  Tech has reached a certain level.  Human actors wants certain things.  Even chaos has mechanics.  The only way to stop the juggernaut is a civilizational collapse of such far-reaching horror that we are knocked back to the middle ages or before.  And trust me, you wouldn’t like that.  Well, I wouldn’t like that.  So, do try not to do that, okay.  Dude, don’t break my civ.)

Given the times we live in, almost any job you train for, almost anything you attempt is going to get upended before you get much further.  Ten years?  Twenty?  The chances are that you will have three or four “careers” before you are done with your working years.

So, no matter who you are and what you’re doing, you have to remember that the story isn’t pre-scripted.  This means there are no guarantees.  But it also means that you’re not written to fail.

You’re not the red shirt.  You’re not the disposable character.  And if you are the plucky comic relief, it’s because you want to be.

There are no guaranteed strategies to get to the top, but that means you can take the rules as a guideline and experiment.  And in publishing, right now – and in other work too – there are new ways of doing things that might give you results you couldn’t have hoped for under the old one.

I can’t say “you’ll fail for sure, because your characters are too wimpy.”  I can’t say “You’ll succeed for sure because you’re so determined.”

Publishers believed these stories, you see.  They believed if you had failed once you’d continue failing.  In fact, they more or less made sure you failed, though that’s not (of course) how they saw it.  They just believed in the stories: those who were destined to win.  Those who were destined to lose.

But the stories were never true, not unless/until they could rig the system.  They’re even less true now.

So, go ahead.  Boldly go wherever you’re going.  Work hard, study, keep your nose clean, apply persistence and…

You’re not guaranteed to succeed.  But you’re not guaranteed to fail too.

Your future is yet unborn and yours to create to the limits of your ability and the system.

Maybe they won’t kill Guy.  Maybe it’s some other character they have it in for.  After all, you have a last name.  And maybe you’ll be the plucky comic relief.

111 responses to ““Let’s Get Out of Here Before They Kill Guy!”

  1. ppaulshoward

    What’s the line about “fiction has to make sense but reality doesn’t”? [Wink]

  2. You can never guarantee results. Best you can do–and you can do that much–is improve your odds. Get a degree in a difficult subject (fewer people trying/succeeding at getting the degree) that is broadly applicable in the job market? Better odds of a good job after graduation.

    Learn how to use decent spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc., thoroughly familiarize yourself with the genre(s) in which you intend to write, make an effort to develop believable, “well rounded” characters with plausible motivations and actions that follow naturally from those motivations and put them into conflicts that play on those motivations? Increase your odds of being able to sell your writing.

    But no guarantees. Never guarantees.

  3. I firmly believe that 20 years in the military taught me more about working in the real world (at a variety of different jobs) than my original college degree ever did.
    And I got more funny and/or heartbreaking materiel to write about out of the experience, too.

    • Eh, college is a four year moratorium for teens to put off the real world a bit longer. I wouldn’t say it was worthless (far from it, for me), but I also know I learned far more in four years on a real job (and I wish I’d done military service).

      • People too easily under appreciate the opportunity cost of college. Tuition inflation being what it is, this is understandable. But if you spend those four years earning $7.50 an hour, forty hours a week 52 weeks a year you would have earned (before taxes, deductions and “contributions” to Social Security and Medicare) over $62,000.

        • Too many people today see college as a “silver bullet” that will keep them from having to actually WORK at something. As Laurie said, for most it’s a four-year moratorium on growing up. For about a quarter of the enrollment, it’s an actual learning experience, and not necessarily from the coursework. Sarah just explained, beautifully and without rancor, that THERE ARE NO SILVER BULLETS. Anything worth doing (and even some that aren’t) take knowledge, skill, determination, intelligence, and WORK. It doesn’t matter so much how you got the knowledge, or built or refined the skill, it won’t be worth a tinker’s toot without some hard work.

          I saw quite a few people during my career in the military that thought they could serve a four-year tour, get out and go to college on the GI bill, and everything would be fine. The first indication that things didn’t work that way was the fact that the military demanded something in exchange for those four years other than sitting around loafing. The military also expected those people to learn their job, and to be good at it. Most non-military would be astounded at the number of people that are discharged every year as “unfit for military service”, which usually means they don’t have the personal discipline to follow orders or do their job. One of the greatest things about military service for a lot of young people today is that it teaches them discipline and gives them a work ethic, something not always found in college graduates.

          • Unfortunately, these days, having a college degree is mandatory for a lot of jobs. I had a friend who had no college, but was smart as a whip, and had worked her way up to a certain point, but could go no higher because she didn’t have that tickmark on her resume. She wound up having to get her degree, in her thirties, when it wouldn’t teach her a thing she didn’t already know (and it wasn’t easy, working a full time job and being a mom).

  4. No matter the tech, people will still want stories.

    We just have to keep learning how to use the latest tech to present them in the desired form. Recreate that aspect of our job, while maintaining the important part.

  5. It is innate in human nature to see patterns where naught but randomness exists. It is also innate in the nature of some humans to (try to) convince their fellows that the pattern the storyteller imposes is valid. And then there are those among us who look at the stars, discern a pattern and figure out the complex gravitational computations to explain that pattern.

    And there will always be among us those who gaze to the heavens and say “pretty lights.”

    • Overall they are pretty lights.

      • Indeed they are. That may be the single most important thing to notice. 😉

      • I have a friend who’s a professor of space physics and studies the planet’s magnetosphere. I like listening when he talks about his research, but yeah, ultimately, I’m a “ooh, pretty lights” person. ^_^

        • When you heard the learned astronomer…

          • I wondered if anyone else knew that little poem. 🙂

            • Susan Shepherd

              Huh. Beat me to it. 🙂

              For anyone who doesn’t want to look it up:

              When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
              When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
              When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
              When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
              How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
              Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
              In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
              Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
              – Walt Whitman

    • When I had my cataract surgery, the doctor asked me what I wanted, near-vision augmented by glasses for distant objects, or far-vision augmented by glasses for close-up work. I chose far-vision so I could see the stars again. For me, it was the only choice.

  6. Yup, the problem with rules is that they change all the time. This is, mostly, a good thing for humanity. Just have to adapt, and keep in mind what we really want. And to not get so fixated on the path that we forget what the ultimate goal is, if that makes sense.

    But we are so lucky now. It is so easy to get new skills, compared to previous centuries, when change often meant starvation and death.

  7. It is as important to look backward as forward. The nature of trend-lines hasn’t changed so much as has their slope. The internet boom & bust reflected the same trend observable a century before amongst the automakers, and a half century before that with the railroads.

    Coming into the last half of the 20th Cent we had a generation which had experienced a worldwide depression and a worldwide war, after which they sought desperately for an imagined normalcy none had ever known. In America in the Fifties the nation had a) the only world-class economy and b) a labor shortage caused by the “baby-bust” of the Thirties and, of course, the injuries and deaths in the war. It was a brief moment in which it seemed possible to make rules and, living by them, live happily ever after.

    Except, of course, it was an illusion. Change is the only constant and the only solutions are learn to adapt or reduce civilization to sustainability (i.e, return to the Dark Ages.) Pick your preference and accept the implications.

    • Yes! So much bad government policy is to try to end the business cycle of growth and recession, expansion and contraction – only to find out that this just means a permanent recession, or even a depression.

      • The only way to end the cycle is to kill business. Personally I view this as a less than optimum solution, to what wasn’t actually a problem until they started messing with it.

        • More than that, if you leave things alone, you just have a quick recession. To really screw things up, you need government intervention.

  8. You’re mostly right, Sarah, OK, you’re completely right…BUT…

    Even the Black Swan events can be controlled with a little foresight. Specifically, when you talk about massive civil unrest, you’re not talking about an act of nature, like a comet strike. You’re talking about something planned out by people. In fact, it’s pretty much certain which people will be behind it. Act preemptively and it won’t happen, at least without that comet strike.

    • Ahem … Glenn Reynolds, yesterday afternoon:

      THINKING ABOUT when Iceland’s next big volcanic eruption hits. “Among the problems: dangerous gases in air flight corridors. But crop failures strike me as a bigger concern. . . . In my view the human race has been lucky in terms of the severity of geological phenomena since the late 19th century. During the 19th century many more severe natural events occurred than was the case in the 20th. We might be overdue.”

      That’s right — whether you’re talking solar megaflares, volcano eruptions, little ice ages, or whatever, the 20th Century was unusually benign compared to the 19th. That’s affected our perception of what’s “normal” — and, hence, worth preparing for — and probably in an unfortunate way.

      Posted at 2:29 pm by Glenn Reynolds
      [ http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/145067/ ]

      • If the 20th century had stayed on the technologically progressive–the only REAL progressive–path of the 19th century, we’d probably be technically able to reduce the harm from solar megaflares, volcano eruptions, or little ice ages to almost nothing. For instance, I suspect it would be relatively simple to survive a supernova 50 light years away IF we had a suitable civil defense system–but we don’t, because of the MAD doctrine that scotched that idea.

    • Yes, of course. BUT if your plan is to be a bestseller and mass communication collapses, you’ll have to re-plan or re-define.

      • My point, which I didn’t make clear, is that success isn’t only based on the obvious work needed in your chosen field. It’s also based on a small-r republican devotion to keeping society functioning. If someone is starting trouble in your neighborhood, you ought to see resistance to that someone as part of your job–since if people like him have their way, people like you won’t be able to succeed any more. This doesn’t just apply to Alinsky types, either; it also applies (far more commonly) to garden-variety criminals.

        • yes. That I understand and agree with.

        • Ken – the problem is that when you do (I actually stopped a neighbor from using our parking lot for the apartment complex as his personal parking spot for broken down cars)— the police start to call you a nosy neighbor and take time to scold you for doing your civic duty. (police used to be friendly and neighborly… at least when I was growing up).

          So you as a citizen are not allowed to do you duty. In fact if you do, you actually might find yourself in jail like a neighbor of mine who also tried to stop same neighbor. BTW I ended up winning but only because I used my civic right of writing reports on both the police and the neighbor… You get the report in first, then you win. The neighbor tried to get me thrown out of the apartment complex for being nosy… but I had already sent certified reports to the apartment owners and the manager.

          It was really awful for a year or so. I couldn’t walk out of my apartment without worrying about being assaulted. They make it really painful to do your duty is the bottom line.

          • Oh, yes. We had this problem, being called troublemakers for asking the police to ticket the car that had blocked us in in our own driveway on Christmas eve morning (when Dan hadn’t had a chance to go shopping yet.) It was “it’s christmas eve. Give these people a break.” EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO LEAVE OUR HOUSE. And, incidentally, breaking the law.

            • Next time, don’t call the cops. Call the tow company.

              • The guy I was dealing with actually worked for the tow company… We had to guard our car for months.

                • Really? I would have gotten a security camera, then charged him with theft if he took the car.

                  • We put a GPS on the car (camera on our balcony). He brought a tow truck and then changed his mind. We put blinking lights on the car (Dodge Neon). Also we are involved in Amateur radio so have the program to tell us where the car is. 😉 Thankfully they are gone now.

              • Ken, in some places, if the car is in a public street, although it blocks your drive, you have to have a police report filed and the car has to have beed ticketed before it can be hauled.

                • Yep.

                  The policeman told us we should have told the owner — we live in a neighborhood where one side is private houses, the other a lot of apartments. The apartments occupants rotate (most of them attending UCCS) — this means that we never know whose the cars are. It’s not like we live on the front sidewalk, watching the neighbors.

          • Don’t take this the wrong way, Cyn, but … You wuz lucky.

            Look at a contrary interpretation of the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin affair. I can’t begin to count the number of times I was compelled to post on FB in response to comments that Zimmerman was a cop wannabe, a Paul Blart neighborhood cop, etc etc etc — all based on little more than he had called 911 around 100 times over a two-year period. Yeah, the guy calls 911 once a week from a crime-troubled neighborhood and all of a sudden he’s Bewitched‘s Gladys Kravitz. I don’t defend or condemn Zimmerman’s actions — all I know about the case is that the media reportage has been garbage.

            I’m glad you had foresight enough to realize the thin ledge you trod and were able to navigate it successfully.

            • RES – I have a good friend who was a cop in LA area and is now in NV. He gave me some help to walk the line successfully. But yes, there is a lot of garbage about the Zimmerman/Trayvon affair. It is coming out that Trayvon was either doing drugs or dealing. They have turned this into a racist referendum. It does help that the family I was dealing with was white. I can imagine what would happen if there was another race involved. … My best friend is Hispanic so it would be interesting to have them tell her I am racist.

              • Plus I had two other cards I could pull – the policeman in question – his supervisor was prior Navy. I didn’t know it until I met with him, but when I realized it, I used it. Also, having a chronic illness helps when I want to use a card. In this case, the police supervisor didn’t care. However, when he realized that I still had ties to the military (my hubby also works in the military complex), the supervisor became quite friendly. What burns me is that “justice for all.” … I shouldn’t have to pull my cards.

                • Cyn,
                  I haven’t had a lot of problems, but then my entire neighborhood KNOWS that I’m a retired, disabled, Air Force Vietnam combat veteran with PTSD, and that I chase people up and down the street with an axehandle when I get angry. Most of my neighbors KNOW I have an AK-47 and a sniper rifle or two (I don’t have any weapons other than my axehandle, which is sufficient, in my house). I have such a quiet, peaceful neighborhood… 8^)

                  • Mike – come live in our area. We like the PTSD – enabled. 😉

                  • Justin Watson

                    When we lived in Lawton, Oklahoma (not the garden spot of the US Army) I put my wife’s human silouhette target from her first time with a 9mm pistol. 2 magazines in the X ring give the common crook pause. Here in the Springs I’m lucky because every other house is either a Iraq/’Stan vet like me or a cop.

                    • I was recently told of how an SCA group in the Detroit area, who had their fight practice at a church in an area where most of the houses were burned-out wrecks and most of the rest were crack/meth labs. All the gang-bangers would leave them and all their stuff alone, presumably because if they would walk unconcerned (in armor) up to several blocks through that neighborhood to beat on each other with big sticks, they MUST be too crazy to mess with.

                    • Are you saying that because I have a shooting bench at my upstairs window, and a target range out it to 300 yards; that might be a deterrent?

    • First of all, I want to help disseminate this phrase: “Cleansing Asteroid“.

      Second – I really don’t think that a societal meltdown will be something planned, even though I know there are people out there who would like such a thing. I think that if anything happens, there will be some triggering event, and we’re going to go up in flames. However, I don’t believe that we are sufficiently urbanized that we could fall all the way down to, say, pre-18th century tech. I would hazard a guess that we can’t currently fall below pre-WW1 tech. The people in the so-called “Red” States have plenty of things that they would use to keep us going, and a lot of other countries, even if they were involved, also have lots of people who currently live AT that tech level.

      Dropping us below that would take a major extinction-level event, like a “Cleansing Asteroid”, or the Yosemite caldera blowing up.

      • Darn it, forgot to check the box for follow-ups.

      • Ki>The people in the so-called “Red” States have plenty of things that they would use to keep us going,

        But that’s impossible. Both Lawrence O’Donnell and David Brin have stated that Red States only have draft-dodgers on welfare.

        • David Brin said that? I may have to throw out my Uplift Saga books. (walks off, grumbling)

          • I don’t know if he said the “draft-dodger” part, though O’Donnell has. Brin has said that Red Staters are entirely dependent on welfare from Blue States. (Of course, he’s including military as “welfare” here. I encourage Brin to go to Parris Island and tell the Marines there how shiftless they are).

            • Ugh – Brin is off my list. I worked hard in the Navy …

              • That’s nothing for Brin…check this out:

                http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=3434

                “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions about Robert Heinlein, but not to their own facts. In a blog post on Heinlein’s novel Beyond This Horizon, David Brin advances a number of claims which are disputable, and one that is utterly bizarre. He alleges that the thought behind Heinlein’s famous quote ‘An armed society is a polite society’ was not Heinlein’s but issued from John W. Campbell, the editor who with Heinlein invented science fiction as we know it.

                “This claim is not merely wrong, it attempts to traduce a core belief which Heinlein expressed in his fiction and his nonfiction and his personal letters throughout his life. We do not have to speculate about this; as I shall show, it is so amply documented that Brin’s claim passes from being merely tendentious to outright bizarre.

                …”Heinlein, on the other hand, was a vocal and consistent advocate of civilian weapons ownership both during and after his association with Campbell. This is perhaps clearest in his 1949 novel Red Planet, written after their parting of the ways. In that novel, the bearing of personal weapons is explicitly connected to the assumption of adult responsibilities.

                …”I have been a fan of David Brin’s writing ever since the early 1980s; I honored him precisely because he played a key role in reviving the Campbellian/Heinleinian style of SF after the decay and pointlessness of the “New Wave” years. I know what Brin’s roots in the genre are; they go back to Heinlein just as surely as mine do, and he has no absolutely no excuse for not knowing better. The kindest possible interpretation is that he has deceived himself; but I cannot escape the queasy, unwelcome conclusion that he does know better. Brin’s essay stinks of politically-motivated lying.”

                RTWT.

            • Found a reference to it here.

              I would have linked directly to the article Brin wrote, but I liked this take on it, and wanted to quote this:

              This is buried in a screed going on for several paragraphs, explaining at vitriolic length just how stupid and backwards the Red States are, and how intelligent and wonderful the Blue States are. Now, on his field of expertise, I have no arguments. When Dr Brin talks astronomy, physics, or how to write a great novel, I’m smart enough to shut up and take notes.

              Heh. Just to let Brin know, if I, or any number of people I know, are still alive after a disaster, there will be electricity, and where there is electricity, there will be technology.

              • This is sad, really. While I haven’t read anything of Brin’s in years it is now unlikely I ever will again. Not because of his politics — I’m old enough to know many otherwise pleasant people hold asinine political positions and don’t hold that against them. No, it is because he has now openly stated he doesn’t respect me and does not want me to read him; that is the only reasonable interpretation of spewing such vitriolic contempt of people whose sole crime is not sharing his politics.

                Oh well – plenty of other fish in that SF sea. I will happily read Hoyt, Weber, Ringo, Drake, Kratman, Flint, Bujold, Taylor, Osborne and others who are happy to be read by people with whom they agree and disagree, but can do so with civility.

              • Why, thank you WayneB, for the compliment of putting up a link to something I wrote! Not sure what the etiquette is in these cases, but, thanks. I was surprised to see traffic coming in from a blog I read regularly but never comment on. I won’t stop reading Brin’s fiction, he really is a great writer, but his political opinions are just willfully ignorant.

            • Ummm, the average percentage of welfare recipients per population is HIGHEST in “blue” states; taxes and transfer payments are highest in “blue” states; eighty percent of all food is grown in “red” states; the states with the highest debt-to-earnings ratios are all “blue” states; the states with the lowest budget deficits (or none at all) are all “red” states; the states with the lowest unemployment are all “red” states, and on and on. Is Brin one of those that makes up their facts as well as their fiction?

              • You forget, he considers military service (which is highest in red states) to be a form of welfare.
                Now I’m not privy to how his mind works, so I am unable to understand how he considers military service a form of welfare, but not any other type of government employment.

                • That is a stumper…

                • Yeah, I do not see how military service constitutes welfare. They require lots of work, and can move you around the world, even into harm’s way. Under the law welfare cannot do any of this. But if government employment were to be considered, then Washington D.C. would be the worst offender all ways round.

          • You actually kept them in the first place?

      • There was a lovely British TV series call Connections. The first year opened with a explanation of what would happen in case of a societal collapsed. In most of the ‘civilized’ world the skills necessary to continue do not exist. This not just an issue of having an understanding of how the technology worked. For example, there are neither enough plow horses or people who know how to use or maintain them.

    • The greatest disasters that have happened in the last three hundred years were caused by man, and most of them weren’t necessarily planned. We are just one crop failure away from major disaster, one insane religious kook away from riots and destruction that could set civilization back a hundred years. Humanity is unpredictable. That’s what happens when you have an ape that can THINK. There is no guarantee that whatever “preemptive” action is taken will prevent a major catastrophe. It’s a pretty good bet, in fact, that such preemptive action may actually TRIGGER the catastrophe. Life’s kind of like a surfer. If he’s good, and lucky, he can ride the wave all the way into the beach. If he’s not as skilled as he thinks, or if he forgets for a minute what he’s doing, or if he’s unlucky, the wave rides HIM into the beach.

  9. Interesting that publishers are less forgiving than a double-predestinarian G-d. Fail once and you fail forever? Even the deity I prefer to worship doesn’t say that (with certain possible exceptions.)

    Then there’s the line about “If you want to hear the universe laugh, announce your plans for the day.” (As the plumbers are banging away and singing the “Ride of the Valkeries” [off key]).

    • They’re singing ride of the Valkyries? ROFL

      • Once I heard two old drunks in a San Diego bar singing along to a recording of the Hallelujah Chorus.

        • Valkyrie plumbers are awesome! (Granted, I want to sing it as “Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit . . .”)

          Way back when I was in college, they ran Sound of Music in the chem lec hall on a Sunday afternoon. The first two rows of the hall were filled with great big jock guys, all drunk, who sang along with all the songs – not quite on key, but they knew ALL the words.

        • Saw The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine for the first time at a college screening. The people behind me insisted on singing the wrong words along through the whole movie. Ugh.

  10. What? You mean my degrees in Transgendered 3rd-World Bohemian Have-not Studies won’t qualify me for a big-money job in the Obama administration? And would you like fries with that?

  11. There once was a Valkyrie plumber,
    Who said “They just don’t get dumber,
    “Than the fellow who dared
    “To ask if I cared
    “To plumb my Valkyrie in Summer”

    • A one-legged Valkyrie plumber,
      Couldn’t get any dumber.
      He plunged his snake
      in a one foot lake
      tipped over his bucket of sewer.

      • Ok, gotta steal one line from that:

        There once was a Valkyrie Plumber,
        Who just couldn’t get any dumber,
        Jumped up on her horse,
        Rode to war like the Norse,
        Until she ran into a Hummer.

  12. The Valkyrie plumber’s old Mama
    Said “Don’t let it give you a bummer
    “Your Valkyrie will ride,
    “Outside or inside,
    “With a smile and she’s always a comer.”

  13. Laura Runkle

    The Valkyrie plumber’s old Dad
    Said, “What, my lass has been had?
    “The dead had no pains
    “But one called for brains!
    “That zombie lad’s really a cad.”

  14. There once was a Valkyrie plumber
    Who used to drive a winged hummer
    hauling her harvest to the Halls
    Until one day, just north of the Great Wall
    the Khan met the Chinese
    and the load was so big her hummer began to wheeze
    She hollered out, “Oh great, I’m gonna hit a lake,
    And I forgot my snake!”

    • There was a bold hero one summer
      Whose death was somewhat of a bummer
      He died on the bog
      Which caused it to clog
      So they called for a Valkyrie plumber

      • Sobs. That’s just beautiful. Poetry. It moves me to the soul!

        Hey, guys, google Diner en Blanc.

        Let’s consider a similar thing… Diner en Baen. Taking place at random cons…

        • On further consideration:

          There was a bold hero one summer / Whose passing was kind of a bummer / He died on the bog / Which caused it to clog / So they called for a Valkyrie plumber

          Picks up a pun in the second line.

  15. [sigh] Another example of how I Don’t Fit In — I don’t find _Galaxy Quest_ funny. Can’t explain why; it’s just that after two hours, I haven’t laughed at all.

    As to “being the expendable one”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TA-QJ2d3kk .

  16. Your quote about Snoopy made me laugh out loud. How many of us here have wanted to write exactly that back to someone who rejected us? 😀

  17. Pingback: The Story Is The Life | madgeniusclub

  18. Amen Sarah. There’s been a few times when things haven’t been going my way that I’ve said, “If this was a movie,X would happen about now.” *sigh* doesn’t work out that way. So I replay the immortal words of Chumbawamba, “I get knocked down, I get up again, ain’t nothing going to keep me down.”