Sunday, September 10, 2006

Duelling Cliff Notes

Hey, if the Stupid Blogger can write Cliff Notes on old classics, then so can I.

In fact, the Old Classics were once my only forlorn hope of getting a date. For some reason, I thought that being intelligent and sensitive was a pretty solid strategy for competing with more athletic types. Turned out that my target audience was much smaller than originally projected. Well, actually, the target audience (all of unmarried womankind) remained the same, I just realized that there was a pretty small percentage of them who thought that listening to me talk about The Old Classics was a better deal than watching some lanky stud slam dunk a basketball.'s my first Cliff. By the way, Stupid, stuff this in yer pipe. I'll bet this was your next Notes. Actually, I shouldn't do this one because it's such a short book already. If you are such a lazy jock that you can't read the full-length version, then I don't want to even know your name.

The Old Man and The Sea
by Ernest "I. Write. Short Sentences" Hemingway

Sunrise came early. The old man put his paper down and looked at the young boy. Strong.

A day for fishing. The old man had not caught a fish for many weeks. The village was laughing at him. His girlfriend from somewhere in New Jersey was thinking of going back to her truck driver husband.

Out at sea. The fish swam. It leaped above the water and the sun shone on its tall dorsal fin like a full sail of polished bronze.

The Old Man looked at the boy again. Insolent. He looked like he'd rather be disfiguring a public monument with South Pacific gang symbols.

The Old Man decided, "What the heck? I can take this brat out fishing. If I get bored, I'll drown his sorry, pimpled butt."

(Cliff Notes footnote: it's also not out of the question that the Old Man was an unregistered sex offender who was violating the terms of his parole by even making eye contact with the boy)

So, the old man goes out to do battle with his own fears of mortality and incompetence (incontinence?) in the form of a big fish.

He and the boy crawl into his 36' Criss Craft Cabin Cruiser with twin diesel 310 hp motors, GPS, digital sonar fishfinder, a built-in Jacuzzi, and multiple downriggers. Hardly seems fair to the Fish, actually.

(Cliff Notes footnote: Foo Daddy, you should be writing this one. feel free to do a re-write. I couldn't bring myself to try to make the Old Man talk like your emerging classic character.)

The odd pair cranks up the huge boat and cruise out in complete comfort. The old man keeps muttering and swallowing multi-colored pills. He also swills cheap tequila and screams querulous orders at the boy, who flips him the double bird alot.

Well, as the day wears on, the Old Man falls asleep on the deck with his gray-haired belly sticking up into the tropical sun. The young boy takes digital pictures of this undignified situation, doctors them with Photoshop and then uploads them to questionable amateur websites using the yacht's satellite phone at enormous cost.

After hours at sea, the old man wakes up with second degree burns on his bloated abdomen. The young boy had become so bored that he actually dropped a line into the water. The old man watches him for about an hour and only rolls onto his feet when the boy yells out, "Senor! A fish. On the line!".

"Probably nuthin'," says the old man, but he still staggers down and tests the line.

"Well, mebbe sumthin'", he allows.

(Cliff Notes footnote: OK, this is almost as long as the real book, so we're going to wrap it up pretty quickish now)

The old man lets the boy fool with the fish for awhile so he can take a whiz off the side of the boat. A little later, he elbows the boy aside and yanks on the line.

Of course, in his semi-drunken state, he miscalculates and pulls too hard. This breaks the fishing line. The old man curses the boy roundly and crawls back up to the forward deck where he writes a longish lie about his struggle with a great fish.

As the sun goes down, they putter back into the village--but not before they stopped another boat and paid a ridiculous price for one of their fish.

The village people hail him as a hero because his sunburn is so great that it's obvious he struggled mightily to break his long losing streak.

The old man also bribes the boy handsomely and gets ripped on the cheapest possible tequila later at the saloon.

The End.


Paul FooDaddy Brand said...

Good work, PickleNordby! I like the idea of the Old Man as a kind of village pariah turned hero because of his alleged fishing prowess.

As Old Man Custom (OMC) dictates, he goes about redeeming hisself with characteristic don't-givva-crapness.

"I've had enougha this trout-slappery! Whur's mah teh-KWEE-lah?"

Jack W. Regan said...

This post. Awesome. Very funny. Very.

No, seriously, this was hilarious. I especially like this line: "The young boy takes digital pictures of this undignified situation, doctors them with Photoshop and then uploads them to questionable amateur websites using the yacht's satellite phone at enormous cost."

That should have been in the original story. Maybe if Ernie hadn't been sloshed the whole time, he would have thought of it. On the other hand, maybe that's how you thought of it...

dara said...

Very clever.

Dan said...

You forgot the part where the Old Man is arrested when he returns to the village and is flown first class back to Boulder amid a media frenzy.

(I'm glad they left that part out of the movie -- I can't imagine Spencer Tracy being led away in hand-cuffs.)

Hemingway. Patooey. Everybody knows he was famous only because he had two super-model granddaughters.

Raymond Betancourt said...

Hey, since the Cliff Notes have turned out so well, maybe you guys could try writing a Shakespeare to English dictionary next. I'd really like to know what the hell he was talking about.