(some observations from the archives…)
It was a very long Monday this week. I’d been out of town for four days and had come home to a mess of work and household chores. By the time I had supper in the oven and the kids practicing their instruments, I was ready to either a) go to bed, b) get drunk, c) collapse where I was or, d) get drunk. Then I remembered I had some texts I needed to send. Sigh. The idea of coordinating my stubby thumbs with my “smart”phone was exhausting (no, my name is not Chaos Rink Jones). But then I remembered the handy voice dictation feature. Just push the microphone icon and start talking.
I prattled on, trying to remember to say “comma” and “period.” After a while I paused to see how my techretary had done. The results were spectacular. If spectacular means not even remotely close. Evidently, my hand had been over the microphone.
I was quickly getting annoyed but as I continued to read the phone’s version of what I’d said, I began laughing. This was fantastic. Some some sentences were so comprehensively mangled I couldn’t tell what they were supposed to say. “You drunk the help of my long gone stone they have a min interval on a police vehicle thinking of us.”
Another sentence read “Lead skating listen to him so then be on a date for the bold bold for the outlets what is going to be for that is good please put it in a can.”
I most certainly will put it in a can.
I might even put it on a t-shirt.
Perhaps I was just pathologically overtired, but I felt I’d discovered something. Something wonderful. And random. All of a sudden my phone was more than just a phone, it was a tool to pervert language. I had been given the power to concoct potentially hilarious nonsense just by mumbling at my phone. I might even be able to use that garrolous garble for some higher purpose. Like random writing prompts.
And so the experiment began. What if I spoke in a foreign language? German, French, Spanish… or something really bizarre like, I dunno, Scottish? I started with German. By adding a little punctuation, some interesting phrases emerged:
I really like the chocolate, me and Kevin. Golfing plan a special daily feel and its good. I mean, leave the house. Give last kiss couldn’t get in. Extraordinary Obadiah Parker Colorado, so gone by Monday. Which Monday? But the thing about the Bears playing what the f*** was going to go to fix something else.
“Bears playing what the f***.” Are you serious??? The story almost writes itself! I tried French next, and it made for a nice gonzo poetry generator:
I hate online to do birds.
Eye Blind is on the heart.
What is a honey bun?
All the small children, that’s good
have a lab room by me.
Hints as to meet at least
I’ve got the broke diaries.
Quit talking on the phone for a week off!
Season 5 is in your own bong. Live there.
I called and got all your nail. You please stop doing that.
This was fun. I could hardly wait to see what showed up on the screen. But then I tried Spanish and things got a little embarrassing:
Devon happened to the arena porn behind the little we live in the ditch and phones about to pull an eagle at 7 p.m. You see the most wonderful thing about your anus. I thought you can take the whole day with you. Don’t like your dog, imma. Be there when you get there then if you like on the beach to eat just open up yesterday from face what I could tell your bike of wieners. I was just great.
Worst of all, however, was Scottish. I put on the thickest, rollingest brogue I could muster and read the liner notes to a CD of Beethoven’s symphonies.
We want you to be legally in my backside with a great big problem of weasels. Munching on pillows and having a great time talking about wine bottles and the Jupiter. But then after that, clap your hands. Do you like to follow? I love you know the other stuff going on in about that I thought your big fat sick dog will tell Wayne. Meet me for something I’m f******. I am out shopping and then I’ll be here too. I’m Pokemon.
Ok, so not exactly Shakespeare but entertaining in a laughing-gas-and-vodka-at-the-disco kind of way. So the next time you find yourself stuck for an idea, just grab your smartphone and start mumbling. Worzle ab naffed glen gobbles. The result might just be spectacular! You might even wind up with weasels.
If you try this and want to share, just post your text in the comments below.
A writing challenge…
Use the voice dictation creature on your smartphone or tablet and speak in some foreign language for 30-60 seconds. Fake Arabic seems to be especially effective. Read over what you get, then choose the wildest, funniest, or most degrading string of words and work them into a scene. Write for 8 minutes. Do this for two more phrases, 8 minutes each. If you get anything great, be sure to credit me.