I was planning to answer another question from Gregory Stock’s book today, when I was pleasantly interrupted by this email, forwarded to me by one of my Singletons friends.  I would say I wish could come up with something like this, but I don’t think anyone could make this up.  And it would be downright selfish of me not to share it with you:

Men are from Mars…

Here’s a prime example of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.  It is offered by an English professor from the University of Colorado as an actual class assignment:

A Creative Writing professor told his class one day: “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 next to his or her desk.

“As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story.  You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me.  The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending a copy to me.  The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back-and-forth.

“Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent.  There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail.  The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.”

The following was actually turned in by two of his English students:

Rebecca (PINK)

Bill (BLUE)


(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 Bill)

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 transgalactic 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.


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 unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper 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.


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 dimwitted 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 even poor, stupid Laurie.


This is absurd.  I refuse to continue this mockery of literature.  My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.


Yeah?  Well, my writing partner is 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 kind of FUCKING TEA???  Oh no, what am I to do?  I’m such an air headed bimbo.  I guess I’ve read too many Danielle Steele novels!”








In your dreams, Ho.  Go drink some tea.


A+ – I really liked this one.

7 Responses to “THIS JUST IN”

  1. 1 Scott July 25, 2012 at 12:00 am

    Upon Googling “tandem story” after writing this post, I accidentally discovered the original source for its text. In fairness to the original source, here is the link:

  2. 2 bearmancartoons July 25, 2012 at 8:21 am

    the story lost me at the end…haha

    • 3 solosocial July 25, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Yeah, I couldn’t resist posting that one. This is the first time I’ve posted an email, then discovered its original source (albeit accidentally)–most forwarded emails’ origins are unknown. After finding out its original source, I felt somewhat regretful–as if I had wasted my time retyping the entire thing. But then I realized the altered version was funnier! It’s a very good example of how a story changes from one storyteller to the next–sometimes to the point beyond recognition. We’ve all played that game as children–“So & so, pass it on…” And after the message has gone from one child to another in the room, it’s completely different. I cannot help but think of our pre-literate ancestors worldwide–how they passed myths and legends, by word-of-mouth from one generation to the next, for tens of thousands of years. The development of writing is one of the greatest achievements in human history. But every achievement has a downside. Our memorization skills have almost certainly been affected negatively–just as our senses of smell, taste, hearing, sight, and touch have dwindled as we’ve become “civilized”.

  3. 4 Abby July 25, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Omigod Scott, this is so funny. And so true! I agree. You’re altered version is better than the original.

    I’m forwarding your version to my husband now, I know he’ll appreciate it!

    • 5 solosocial July 25, 2012 at 10:47 am

      I’m sure he will–and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      It is definitely one of the funniest emails I’ve ever received!

      • 6 Abby July 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm

        I tried to send it to him at work, but it got diverted – probably for the F-bombs and the b*tch. He’ll have to wait until he gets home. I did send it to my son who’s about to start college and will no doubt have some creative writing assignments!

      • 7 solosocial July 25, 2012 at 11:19 pm

        Yes, in the email I got, those words were censored. But I believe that you shouldn’t show/say something at all, if you feel you have to censor it.

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