Guo: Knights on planet Dart
The day Dhruv and I created “Geo fun with Dhruv” was the day we sat next to each other in geosystems class during senior year of high school, terribly bored, having just finished a lab assignment that was supposed to teach us about wind patterns or rock formations. Four years later, I can’t even tell you which way the water is supposed to swirl when you flush in the Northern Hemisphere.
The first line of the Google document reads, “Once upon a time, there was a princess called Diego.” I wrote in purple and Dhruv in black; we alternated colors with each sentence or paragraph until our absurdity culminated in the following: “And they all lived happily ever after until the puppies died, the blessing of the Gods slowly dying in strength with the passing of eons.”
I tried to recreate a similar alternating storyline this past weekend with my friend Kevin, who was visiting from Boston. The game? “After you read the previous sentence, write the first thought that pops into your head.”
“The Musings” (also known as “Passing my laptop back-and-forth hoping that a story will naturally erupt from our rusty preliminary alternations”):
CG: Give me a sentence — any sentence at all.
KW: Does it have to be non-sexual? Pause. I hope not.
CG: Well. My parents read this. And my younger sister. And it’d be quite a shock for them if all of a sudden my writing became better suited for Incognito mode. So we should limit this storyline to PG (absolute maximum PG-13). Maybe we should stick to puppies or rainbows or babies. Those are all quite appropriate and fun.
KW: I miss my puppy. He’s actually not a puppy since he’s 5 years old, but he acts like a baby. He and my 18-month-old niece don’t get along since they’re about the same size and my puppy gets jealous when my niece gets all the attention.
CG: I would love to be a preschool or kindergarten teacher. I’d basically be like Lily in “How I Met Your Mother,” except I’d never introduce my Marshall-equivalent to my kids.
KW: Which do you like more, “Friends” or “How I Met Your Mother?”
CG: “Friends.” Question: Were they on a break?
KW: Yes they were on a break, but that doesn’t justify Ross sleeping with someone else. But Rachel can’t only be into Ross when he is with someone else…
CG: You know what I’ve been thinking about recently? “The Little Prince.” “I showed my masterpiece [Drawing Number One] to the grown-ups and asked them whether the drawing frightened them. But they answered: ‘Frighten? Why should any one be frightened by a hat?’ My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant.”
KW: That is your favorite book. I don’t remember it much, but it’s fun how the same thing can be interpreted in so many different ways.
CG: The neuroscience major in me wants to mention that plasticity decreases with age. What’s the strangest function you can think of for a paper clip?
KW: Hm. Connecting them together and making a piece of clothing.
CW: Reminds me of chainmail. I’ve always wanted to learn how to use a lance. But if one has to be a knight to wield a lance, then I clearly wouldn’t qualify because I am much too physically uncoordinated and weak. I also can’t ride a horse.
KW: But nowadays you don’t have to be physically strong to be a knight. The Queen knights scientists from the Royal Society all the time. So if you learn to use a lance, you would probably be the only scientist who actually knows how to use one. And we should go horseback riding — I think you’d like it.
“The Story” (also known as “The [successful?] culmination of our imaginations into a cliché first sentence followed by ambiguous phrases thereafter”):
CG: Once upon a time, there was a knight. He dressed in chainmail made of condensed paper clips and rode a midnight black horse with silver manes.
KW: And he was in love with a princess with long blonde hair who wore a long pink dress. The only obstacle that stood in his way was her parents.
CG: Her parents were aliens. They were from the planet “Dart” that held Hunger Games-like events at the beginning of every lunar New Year. The first event? Pong.
KW: “Real” pong or Beirut?
CG: “Real” pong, obviously. Beirut was played by their rival planet, Red.
KW: Why do they hate the planet Red?
CG: It’s a long and complicated history, rooted in the all-too-typical power struggle that sought to retain the best and brightest. But — alas — we digress. The winners of the pong tournament, each game played with 11 cups, progressed to the next stage.
KW: I thought there are 10 cups in a pyramid…
CG: Ah, yes. But the pyramid must have a center, a cup that rests between the middle two cups of the four-cup base to create a tree.
KW: Is stage two a dance-off on tables?
CG: Stage two is a dance born of endurance and not of skill. Reminiscent of the Homecoming, Winter Carnival and Green Key days — only practiced seniors will be successful.
KW: With the exception of Sir Mix-A-Lot — I heard he won the dance off as a freshman and was quickly knighted for his prowess on the pong dance tables. And is there a final stage?
CG: Of course. All famous events must be completed in threes. But the public is not privy to the details of the Final. Only those who have struggled through the 10 days of stages one and two are granted access to a game born of knowledge. Many will fail, unable to reach the “Median” barrier. Those who surpass it, who race toward it and jump across the “Pond,” will be crowned.
KW: And that’s the story of how the knight in paper clip chainmail won the approval of the princess’ parents. They moved to the alien planet “Knicks,” where the cozy living environment was only suitable to accommodate the couple and their pet plant Joyce. The three of them lived happily ever after.