Skip to main content

Harebrained plots


Imagine: The only child who pokes holes in her parents' condoms to get herself a sibling. The social outcast -- who seeking a day off from school -- tries to break her leg on the stairs. The underage smoker who tapes her school picture to her father's expired driver's license. The inexperienced driver who wrecks the family station wagon in the driveway and stages the scene to look like a bicycle accident.

My repertoire of failed plots and harebrained schemes leaves characters like Lucy Ricardo and Mary Clancy -- mother of the scathingly brilliant idea -- with something wanting.

Plotting is something of an addiction, really. And even now -- having been foiled in every dastardly deed -- I frequently entertain the most ridiculous scenarios perhaps to make life more interesting. But here's the thing -- the single most important tenant of plot-building -- less is more. Bold and beautiful schemes are a blast to ponder, but near impossible to execute.


The Forger

I had a dream in *BLEEEEP* grade of owning a Nintendo Entertainment System. 

It all began on the first day of school when our principal announced over the intercom that the top earner for the school fun run would be awarded a Nintendo with games and a t-shirt at a special assembly. Sitting there in class -- with my bad perm and ginormous pink eyeglasses -- I vowed I would win that game system by any means necessary.

Well, I wasn't at all athletic and I was too embarrassed to knock on people's doors and beg for money.

My single pledge sheet was looking rather empty while my classmates returned sheets and sheets every day requesting more. I'd all but given up when a neighbor -- a younger kid pledging on behalf of her mother -- mistakenly committed to paying me $20 per lap versus a flat donation. 

At *BLEEEEP* years old I had no concept of cash flow or banks or credit. I thought of Checks like do-it-yourself cash -- you simply wrote the amount, and -- POOF -- it was money. So I took a check from my mother's desk and made it out to our school for something like $300, forging it in the neighbor kid's name.

The school secretary gave my check the once over, and her eyes bulged a bit. She looked at me. She looked the check. She looked at me and then the check again like she couldn't believe what her brain was telling her. She picked up the phone and gestured me with a stern finger to sit down.

Word spread quickly that I was a hardened criminal and all of the teachers shook their heads in the hallway and called me a forger and a thief. 

My parents, as hard as they tried to be shocked and appalled, were more amused than angry -- not that they let on. I was grounded for a long time.

And here's the worst part -- overlooking the fact that I committed a rather serious felony in elementary school  -- the student who won the Nintendo collected more than twice the amount I claimed to have collected. What's more, the Nintendo only cost $100 at the store to begin with.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The insecure writer's support group

The ground is important -- for several reasons.

Among them

Gravity makes no sense without it -- there's no mandate that science be logical so long as our scientists are the smartest smartypants on the planet, in which case "because I said so" is an acceptable explanation. The ground is important, because it's something to build on -- a starting point, a foundation.

I respect the ground, because it has on occasion fallen out from under me, and it's rather unsettling to watch your life in free-fall mode -- to see your accomplishments disintegrate in an instant or a decade in some cases. It all depends on how fast you're falling.

Most of us drop in slow motion. We'll catch a ledge or an up draft every once in a while and think "this is it!" But then we go on falling. Or do we? Is the "bottom" just a figment of our imaginations? Can we lay new ground wherever we choose?


Ask Alice

None of my friends growing up were impressed with Disney's…

Writers get laid

Writers get laid -- or they would if they tried -- because people -- especially women -- are impressed by the phrase, "I'm a writer." It's romantic.

Introducing yourself as a writer insinuates substance and depth of character; people like that. They don't know why, except that one-dimensional characters on T.V. sitcoms and big-screen romantic comedies prattle on and on about the whole package -- a good looking, funny, intelligent single with rock-solid values and money.

People admire the skill and dedication it takes to be a novelist or a journalist or a screen writer  -- "I always wanted to be a writer," they tell you with stars in their eyes.

Whether they know it's a myth or not they imagine us in rich, thrilling lives with sports cars and beach houses and Louboutin shoes like Carrie Bradshaw. So the woman at the grocery store doesn't feel bad when she puts back the US Weekly she read cover to cover before she checks out.

Or downloading unauth…

My favorite geeks

Imagine a little girl in pink granny glasses. Her haircut gives her a boyish look and she’s dressed in a purple checked sweater with red high waters and electric-blue duck shoes. A couple of kids on the playground tell her how cool she looks, and -- not comprehending their sarcasm -- she smiles brightly and thanks them.
That was me -- the dork in ginormous glasses. I answered to many names in elementary school -- loser, duck feet, four eyes and a few others I'd rather forget -- smart, pretty and fashionable I was not. It felt like the end of the world back then. All the popular girls braided each other's hair during story time at the library while I picked my nose and talked to myself. 
I'm not ashamed to admit it. I was a dork -- as big a dork as it's possible to be -- and it gave me character. I think Lester Bangs said it best : "Good-looking people don't have any spine. Their art never lasts."
No one called 4-year-old Paris Hilton -- or Lindsay Lohan or B…