Six Word Memoir

July 9th, 2009

UPDATE: So many great ideas, it’s hard to pick just one six-word memoir. I think I should have six six-word memoirs, that should be a thing. There is one that has become my favorite because it makes me laugh out loud, and it also captures a little bit of that “I am unable or unwilling to be a grown-up and have a real job” feeling. “For sale: adult shoes, never worn.” It’s a reference to Hemingway’s six-word story, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn” (which may or may not be real but is famous anyway). It was submitted by Tim Canny, who, if he will email me a mailing address, will receive a free DVD from me. Thanks everyone for thinking on it, this was a lot of fun.

The coffee shop I frequent here in Brooklyn is filled with lots of other people who are, like me, using it as an office. I can’t imagine the work that everyone else is doing is quite as important as my own work, which is mostly avoiding the OTHER work that I have to do, but they all seem pretty busy. There is one person in particular who is always there before I arrive and after I leave, and who does not seem to be merely reloading Twitter every couple of minutes. In fact he is working on his media empire: you may know it as SmithMag, and that might be because you have heard of the Six Word Memoir. This fellow and I – let’s call him “Larry Smith” – Larry Smith and I were talking about the Six Word Memoir and he suggested I contribute one for his book about same. Let me tell you, it’s hard. Just take a look at the ones that people have submitted, some of them are sort of brilliant. In its perfect form, it’s kind of like the punchline of a joke, where something very small and specific suddenly expands in your mind to sum up a life story. OK, now do that for your own life. Actually, stop, do it for mine instead.

I asked Twitter to help me out on this and got some great responses. From a quick scan, here are some of my favorites:

@meaghano: Sorry didn’t get to this sooner.
@awryone: Should have left that pimple alone.
@mehuman: Already peaked with song from portal.
@petersagal: Vanished after failing as IT professional.
@aaronfever: I need someone to work merchandise.
@colleenky: Should not be trusted with cats.
@paulandstorm: Paul and Storm just won’t leave. (Note how even MY six word memoir is somehow ABOUT THEM.)
@unmodisch: Internet pioneer, domesticated money-pooping cow.
also @paulandstorm: Dear Internet: thanks for…well, everything.
@marmotry: Liked cold baths with Angela Lansbury.
also @unmodisch: Phase one: music. Phase three: profit!
@scottknaster: Couldn’t write own six word memoir.

And they continue to trickle in. Boy do I love the hive mind! Since I don’t want the blog readers who are not on Twitter to miss out on the fun, I’ll take suggestions here in the comments as well. A couple of things I didn’t know until I started getting suggestions: I probably will avoid using my own lyrics for this, and ideally this will not be about me being dead. Though it’s only six words, it would be nice to somehow capture the collaborative nature of my rise to online semi-celebrity, by which I mean that while I owe the internet plenty already, it would be fun and appropriate if you also did this work for me. By Tuesday.

OK, back to tweeting about sandwiches and pretending to be on vacation.