June 07, 2009

Why 6 When 600 Will Do?

Last week I was looking at the "Lifestyles" section of one of the newspapers that I read, and I came across an article on "6 Word Stories".  In a nutshell, people are challenged to come up with a complete story in 6 words.  Apparently, this concept has become quite popular and is used for it's entertainment value at various venues where games such as "Charades", "Pin The Tail On The Donkey" and "Hide The Salami" would normally be played.  There have even been books written on the subject, although I don't know if I'd want to wade through a book filled with nothing but 6 word stories unless I was in bed and trying to find something that would make me sleepy.

The origin of 6 Word Stories was traced to a reporter who asked Ernest Hemingway if he could write a story in 6 words.  The writer responded with "For Sale: Baby clothing.  Never worn."  I'm trying to figure out why the reporter would ask Hemingway this, and the only reason I could think of is I guess he was pretty wordy, but I wouldn't know because I'm embarrassed to admit that I never made it through one Hemingway novel because I found him incredibly boring.  But I'm guessing it was because Ernest would write 10 words when one would have sufficed.  Kind of like Stephen King, who I would bet my life savings on could not possibly write a story in 6 words.  I mean, when you read one of his books, you have to be prepared to skip through a shitload of pages just to get through it in any reasonable period of time.

But I should talk because I tend to do the same thing.  There's a movie named "A River Runs Through It", where the stern father is teaching his sons how to write an essay.  They keep bringing him their stories and each time he looks at their papers and tells them "half as much". Every time I see that, I say to myself "Hell, I'd be telling them twice as much".

However, the strange thing about me is that although I use a lot of words to write a story, I'll be very brief when I'm telling a story out loud, unlike my wife, who insists on beginning every story at the dawn of time and will never get to the point until I tell her to "cut to the chase", which I'm sure makes her want to cut me up into little pieces and feed me into the garbage disposal.  I do feel bad about that and I'm trying to change.  Honest dear.

Anyway, I was wondering if I could tell a story in 6 words, so here goes:

Rode on a train.  Missed stop.

Sucks doesn't it?  But I'll bet you can't do any better.  So there.

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