James McDonell, 36, tortured artist and accountant, always planned on being recognized posthumously for all his contributions to art, later deemed “ahead of its time.” He would fantasize wildly about being similarly categorized with pioneers of their respective artforms such as Vincent Van Gogh or William Shakespeare, who he had been told had too never received their dues within their lifetimes. Then, one night, as he listened to his soothing whale noises and pictured in great detail all of the women who rejected him in highschool sobbing over his grave, it dawned on him that he would actually have to create art to someday be recognized as an artist.
It was this revelation that inspired McDonell to pen a memoir, which he assumed would be a fairly painless route to fame, as he knew he was already quite witty over Tinder. He opened his laptop, minimizing his Microsoft Excel spreadsheet– which would no longer be important once he could quit his job to embark on a nationwide book tour– and began to play that little dinosaur game as he waited for the Internet to load.
Once he had made that funny little T-Rex jump a whole bunch of times, he decided it was time to quit messing around and finally write that memoir. He debated on what to call it for quite some time, eventually deciding on “TITLE PENDING.” It was then that his boss walked past his desk, and noticing that he was hard at work, typing rapidly, decided not to bother him, assuming McDonell would have that quarterly report on his desk by 3 like he’d promised. In truth, he had been oscillating between beginning his memoir with ‘CHAPTER ONE,’ ‘CHAPTER 1,’ ‘PART 1,’ or ‘PART ONE,’ or if he should eschew chronology altogether and construct an interconnected, labyrinthine narrative that only came together fully on the very last page– which would be page 287, because that would be a legit and solid length for a memoir.
McDonell reflected on his life thus far, typing every remotely compelling anecdote he could think of, but after days of typing, rewarding himself with a can of beer every time he completed a paragraph, he stared at his laptop in the realization that he’d only written 21 pages. Well, 21 would be generous. 20 and a bit. 20 and a couple sentences on the next page. 21 according to Word. There was that story about how he scraped his knee playing soccer, and he even related it to the sting of being stood up on a fifth date, but that had only been seven paragraphs.
He racked his brains for all he could find, even calling his parents to ask them if they could remember any amusing anecdotes from before he developed self-awareness. They met his question with a prolonged silence, before his father asked, “Do you need money?”
“No, don’t be silly,” he said. “I’m writing a memoir!”
Another long silence lapsed, before his mother responded, “Why?”