Posted by: GeekHiker | July 16, 2009

Friday Sillyness: The English Paper

Cleaning out some old files this week, I ran across this gem that had been e-mailed to me back in college, which is both funny and has the advantage of quite possibly being true (link at the end).

It also speaks more to males vs. females than most books on the subject.



This assignment was actually turned in by two of my English students:

Rebecca <last name deleted> and Gary <last name deleted>
English 44A
Creative Writing
Prof. Miller

In-class Assignment for Wednesday

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 to his or her immediate right.  One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story.  The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story.  The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth.  Remember to reread what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent.  The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.


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.

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 newspapers 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 has 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 dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through 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 Laurie and 85 million other Americans.  The President slammed his fist on the conference table.  “We can’t allow this!  I’m going to veto that treaty!  Let’s blow’em out of the sky!”

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

Yeah?  Well, you’re a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.



* * *

Happy Friday.



  1. LOL!!! Thanks for sharing — this is hysterical!

  2. I only wish my students were that creative! This is hilarious.

  3. *That* was awesome 🙂

  4. HAHA. I laughed out loud at this one…hilarious…just what I needed to read as I stare at my blank Word doc…I could use a tandem writing partner!

  5. I love doing tandem stories with my kiddos. Totally hilarious with 6 and 7-year-olds, but AWESOME (as stated above) when written by college students!

  6. geez, i must be getting grumpy with old age. i thought they were both un-funny idiots.

  7. Oh my. I liked that!! I always annoyed my tandem writing partner by writing pure nonsense. My professor didn’t mind too much though.

  8. I don’t know. The paragraphs seem to work together for me. Am I missing something?

  9. That was hilarious!

  10. That’s gold. GOLD I tell you.

  11. K – You’re quite welcome

    Dingo – Ah, but have you tried this exercise in class?

    Ms Behaviour – *grin*

    Just Me – Welcome in. Couldn’t we all sometimes?

    ECT – Yeah, something about that adult sensibility…

    BlakSpring – Wow, that is grumpy! LOL

    MissMcCracken – Welcome to the site. I think it would be fun to tandem write with you and just put out nonsense!

    Homer-Dog – Hm, I dunno. Maybe you just have their sense of story?

    Ruby – *grin*

    Narami – Especially since it’s true!

  12. Did they have issues toward each other:) ?

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