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Is the Vomit Too Much?
Old 03-22-2014, 08:56 AM   #1
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Is the Vomit Too Much?

I am writing the description for my new book that will go onto Amazon in a week or so. It is a humorous account of a car/bike trip we took, and it includes chapters about events in the past.

I thought I would include the excerpt below as part of the description, but I'm wondering whether the description of the vomit would be too much for some people. What do you think?

Excerpt
Here’s a mishap that illustrates the saying “You’re on an adventure when you wish you were home wishing you were on an adventure.”

In 1982, Lena and I were visiting her folks in Sweden, and we went on a ryggsäcksfotvandringtur. To speak Swedish, all you do is take a bunch of English words, screw around with them, and squeeze them together. For example, in the big word in the last sentence, the only real foreign part is “rygg” which refers to one’s back. Other than that it’s just “Back - sack - foot - wandering - tour,” meaning “wandering around on foot with a pack on your back,” or “backpacking.”

Apparently we have 1,019,729.6 words in English (.6 really?). In Swedish, the total depends on how you count them. Is “ryggsäcksfotvandringtur” one word, or just five words stuck together? Most Swedish dictionaries have around a half-million entries, but if you count words that are Velcroed together, it has many more.

Speaking of Velcro, it was discovered when Georges de Mestral went for a fotvandringstur, and noticed the burrs that stuck to his pants. The word “Velcro” was added to our dictionary in the year nineteen something-or-other. I’ve learned that the phrase “Velcro forehead” refers to the overly dramatic gesture of tilting your head back and holding the back of your wrist against your forehead (”Oh, woe is me!”). Can you tell that I’m worried that this chapter is too short, and I am desperately looking for stuff to add?

So anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, Lena and I were on a shortbackpackingtripinthemountainsofsweden. On our route to the more desolate sections, we passed houses that had sod growing on the roof. And when I say sod, I don’t mean the neat, well-mowed stuff you buy at the nursery. I mean long messy grass, other small plants, cuckoo birds, and gophers. And these weren’t museum displays put up for tourists, people were really living in these things. It’s where we get the saying “People who live in sod houses should throw stones, but no stones from the roof, please.”

This was a great place to foot wander, but when we were the farthest from the car, Lena got sick (really sick), and both Lena and the heavens opened up at the same time. It gave me a case of Velcro forehead, and my main memory of that trip is of continually taking tiny plastic snack bags of vomit out and dumping them in the streams of water surrounding the tent.
Luckily Lena’s Scandinavian constitution won out over the bugs, and the next morning she was all better and ready to drag me home, out of the wilderness. So, we had a generalgoodtimedespitethepukingadventure.
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Old 03-22-2014, 09:06 AM   #2
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Here's an alternative excerpt:
Steve Takes a Ride in the Trunk: Here’s another story about the wild antics of my buddies (and me) in high school. I’m embarrassed about this joke that went a bit too far, but this is what kids do in high school, right?

You remember my best friend Steve (the drowning “joke”)? This guy was as much of a character as I was. For example, in high school, he hosted an exchange student, Adriano, from Brazil. Soon after Adriano arrived, all the new exchange students were taken to another school for a question and answer session, and Steve went along because Adriano spoke very little English.

Steve was on stage with the others, and a teacher asked what country he was from. Without a second’s hesitation, Steve put on a British accent, and said “England, Mum.” He got the most questions, since he was the easiest to understand, and had a great time making up details about what life was like in jolly old England. Adriano had to step on the other foreign students’ toes to keep them from laughing.

On April 1, 1971 Adriano asked Steve how April Fools’ Day worked. “I don’t understand—how do you make someone feel like an idiot?” he asked. Steve raised his index finger and said “Watch this.” He called several friends, including me, and told each he was out of gas and needed a ride. We all jumped to his assistance, only to arrive at the designated spot and find: No Steve.

All there together, we realized we’d been April Fooled, and planned our retribution: Steve would have to be kidnapped and dropped off in a remote location. We drove to his house, knocked on the door and quietly told him that we were glad he’d made it home safely. And, “by the way, we’ve got something to show you guys. Come outside.”

We grabbed Adriano and Steve, and took them over to the open trunk. Steve knew he’d get in trouble if he struggled and alerted his parents, so they got in quietly.

As soon as we drove away, the captives started bawling and banging like bears in a trap. This presented a problem for us, since we needed gas. Self-service gas stations were still years in the future, so we knew there would be an attendant involved. We waited for a lull, and, risking discovery, pulled into a Shell station. Steve and Adriano figured out what was happening, and redoubled their noisemaking efforts.

Now here’s the puzzle: The attendant, an old man, shuffled over to the car and put in the gas, staring straight ahead as if nothing was going on. His head was a foot from the trunk, yet he didn’t seem to register the yells that we could hear from 20 feet away. He was either deaf or assumed we were part of the Mafia. This was indeed Long Island, but we didn’t look like Mafiosi. Perhaps he realized we were just kids having some fun. In any case, he took our payment without comment, and off we went.

Steve had a new strategy at this point. We heard him yell, “I am now disconnecting your taillights!” This strategy had an upside for Steve—someone, perhaps a policeman, might stop the car and not ignore the yelling coming from the trunk. There was a downside too, of course. If you’re riding in a trunk, anything that increases the chance of a rear-end collision is probably a bad idea.

His scheme didn’t have any effect, and we drove to Duck Island (connected to the mainland via causeway) and dropped them off on a desolate dead-end street. When I say “dropped them off,” I mean “pried them loose from the car.”

Heading for home, we hadn’t driven 200 yards before a police car stopped us. “Did you know that your taillights are out?” he asked. We opened the trunk and puzzled over this mysterious electrical problem, all the while darting glances down the road, expecting Steve and Adriano to come screaming up the hill.

Luckily for us, Steve had seen the police car, and didn’t want to cause the extra trouble that would come from having the law involved. More luck—the policeman accepted our promise to fix the lights, and let us go.

The kidnapees’ return to civilization was a tortuous one, since they had no idea where they were, and, of course, no transportation. After a lot of walking and hitching, they arrived at my house at 4 AM. In my mostly unconscious dream state, I mistook their arrival at my bedroom window for burglars, and when I yelled and banged on the window, it shattered. No injuries, though, and when I was fully awake, I drove them home.

Fortunately, Steve was a good-natured fellow, and perhaps because he “started it,” he never held the episode against us. He went on to become a prominent astrophysicist at Caltech, publishing over 200 scientific papers.
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Old 03-22-2014, 04:00 PM   #3
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T-Al, I love it. Don't change a word. Not even "vomit".
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:27 PM   #4
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I don't find vomit objectionable in that context.
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Old 03-22-2014, 07:34 PM   #5
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I think 'barf' is funnier, but nothing wrong with your choice of wording.
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Old 03-22-2014, 10:10 PM   #6
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I'd change it. Just too stark and just too lazy of a word (it might be accurate, but it's not interesting). To me, it takes away the cleverness leading up to the word "vomit".

Anyhow, this is just my opinion.

And a suggestion (not that you asked):
If you haven't already done so, you might consider writing about your varied approaches to taking your blood pressure.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:26 AM   #7
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Al, have only read a few exerpts so far, but I "get" your writing style, and enjoy your sense of humor.

So you may want to re-write your entire nook...
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Old 03-23-2014, 10:00 AM   #8
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You get the same "eww" effect without the turn-off factor if you use barf (1st choice) or another synonym. And it is already juxtaposed with the icky subconscious suggestion you imply with "snack bag".

Write on!
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Old 03-23-2014, 11:53 AM   #9
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It doesn't bother me, fine as is.
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Old 03-23-2014, 05:09 PM   #10
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Thanks for the input.

I vacillated, but eventually went with the vomit one, 'cause I have to go with what makes me laugh. To help you understand me more, I first wrote "continually taking tiny plastic bags of ..." When I then thought of changing it to "snack bags," I couldn't stop laughing. Sick!

But it's good to check, because sometimes I go too far.

In any case, it is now published:

Amazon.com: Drive, Ride, Repeat: The Mostly-True Account of a Cross-Country Car and Bicycle Adventure eBook: Al Macy: Kindle Store
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Old 03-23-2014, 05:34 PM   #11
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Congratulations, Al. I enjoyed reading your book. For some reason it reminded me of reading Jack Smith of the LA Times many years ago. Different sense of humor, but the same ability to make the mundane enjoyable. Each of you makes me feel like I'm sitting down with a friend and hearing a gently humorous recounting of your day, with a little insight thrown in for good measure. But he wrote with a grandfatherly tone, while you don't mind throwing in the occasional bodily function, which is decidedly not grandfatherly. My only suggestion...lose the end-of-chapter previews. They aren't needed. If I'm already at chapter 15, I don't need an ad to get me to read chapter 16. Anyway...small point. Well done!
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Old 03-23-2014, 08:36 PM   #12
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I like the Napinator!
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Old 03-23-2014, 08:44 PM   #13
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If I could only find a napinator for the 20 hrs I spend on a plane back and forth to the US! I'm 6'3" and I've yet to find anything that will support my head for napping in economy class seats.
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Old 03-23-2014, 09:15 PM   #14
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This book is seriously funny ! Please announce when it is on Amazon .
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Old 03-23-2014, 10:20 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
This book is seriously funny ! Please announce when it is on Amazon .
Thanks, I published it today (check a few posts up).

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Early Retirement Forum mobile app
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Old 03-24-2014, 06:28 PM   #16
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Al, Being cheap I tried to download the free copy but it would not load so I slapped down $2.99 & bought your book . A lot of it I had read before in your blog but the adds on about your family were great . It was an interesting book except I lost interest in the cycle parts & the tale of cheapness .Well worth the money & an interesting read .Loved the parts about Lena's heritage & just enough pictures .
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Old 03-24-2014, 08:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moemg View Post
Al, Being cheap I tried to download the free copy but it would not load so I slapped down $2.99 & bought your book . A lot of it I had read before in your blog but the adds on about your family were great . It was an interesting book except I lost interest in the cycle parts & the tale of cheapness .Well worth the money & an interesting read .Loved the parts about Lena's heritage & just enough pictures .
Thanks, and thanks for the review! One sale so far, so I guess you're it! It'll be a bestseller soon.
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Old 03-24-2014, 09:43 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Thanks, and thanks for the review! One sale so far, so I guess you're it! It'll be a bestseller soon.
I really believe you have a bestseller in you !
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Old 03-25-2014, 10:17 AM   #19
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I must point out that this book is available to read in the Amazon Prime lending library without purchase, so I jumped on it. I read it last night, and IMHO it justifies the recent increase in the prime membership . A fun fast read, even if I skipped past the vomitus part. It is really, really well written, nothing amateurish about it. Great voice.

Perhaps the sequel will answer my burning question of how T-Al met Lena and if chloroform was involved.
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