Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Brainstopper

This is absolutely true.

As I walked to a meeting yesterday afternoon, I passed two students in the hallway, sitting against the wall, talking to each other. They were both female, and I'd guess 18 or 19. What I overheard:

Student 1: I could convert you. I could make you a smoker.

Student 2: I'd love to be a smoker, but I'm donating my eggs.

It was all I could do not to stop in my tracks, turn to them, and say 'Huh?'

For the rest of the day, anytime I reflected on that conversation fragment, I could feel my brain actually stop. It has an oddly clarifying effect, like a palate cleanser. Almost a koan, really.

It would make a good short story assignment. Construct a narrative in which this conversation actually makes sense.

The best I could come up with is that the first student was basically teasing, and the second student is tempted by smoking as a weight-loss strategy but needs money more, which she could then use, presumably, to buy cigarettes. Or something.

I could write dialogue for a thousand years and not come up with Student 2's response.

What's the weirdest thing you've heard in the hallway lately?