Before The Office‘s Michael Scott introduced the phrase “Boom! Roasted!” into my everyday vocabulary, I was the Quipmaster.
Years ago, your favorite Internet humorist Jay Pinkerton started a small private web forum to stay in touch with colleagues from our old university satirical rag. Many of the pieces that eventually made him your favorite Internet humorist were first written there for our amusement and later recycled and sold to more appreciative and better paying publications by a teary-eyed, furious Jay after the usual response to his painstaking labor became to quote the first few words of his essay, followed by the sentence “I stopped reading here.”
So, in a very real sense, we were directly responsible for all Jay’s subsequent success, which was achieved out of pure spite. You’re welcome, Jay. My only regret is that this took place before the coining of the acronym tl;dr, which would have not only saved the rest of us even more time but would have made Jay even more furious and therefore more successful (and slightly sooner).
This is where a teary-eyed, furious Jay will immediately jab at the “Leave a comment” button — linked right here for his convenience so he doesn’t even have to scroll — and type “I stopped reading here,” or perhaps even “tl;dr”. But first, I hasten to point out that I never did any of this. By this, I mean that I sometimes did this. But it was usually other people. But what I did was somehow more maddening in a way that Jay reserves resentment solely toward me and therefore, I expect, credits me solely with all of his success. What I did to become, for all intents and purposes, the wind beneath his wings, was to simply respond to most posts on that forum with a simple one-liner, followed by the word “Quipmaster!”
As I explained in the comment thread of an old post, this was merely a verbal self-high five, with the aim of making my quip seem like a masterstroke of wit. As I also explained there, and as I was telling my girlfriend the other day, I also used to have a gimmick of following up every spoken one-liner with a sweet harmonica lick. The true effectiveness of the harmonica gimmick comes from sheer volume. The sudden sonic blast makes it nearly impossible for the victim of the quip to make any sort of retort without being drowned out. It drove my housemates nuts. It drove my friend Scott nuts. My girlfriend now forbids me from owning a harmonica. All my years of practice would be wasted, had I ever learned to play a harmonica in the first place, which I have been sternly told was part of the problem.
I’m not even allowed to talk about harmonicas, which is particularly tragic because I miss calling it a “mouth organ”, which sounds dirty. So, over the years, I’ve substituted other non-prop-based verbal self-high-fives into my act. Recently, I tried punctuating my quips by shouting the lyrics chanted in the bootlegged early version of the Beach Boys song “Ding Dang”: “Alley oop! Whoo! Fuck her! Big tits!” But it turned out that this was considered even more dirty-sounding than calling a harmonica a “mouth organ”, and I am now forbidden from listening to the Beach Boys. So, until these embargoes are lifted, it’s back to “Boom! Roasted!” But I’m still a quipmaster at heart.
That’s what makes it so surprising that it took so long for me to start a Twitter account: It’s completely a quipmaster’s medium. Oddly, I only started my account to read other quipmasterly Twitter users before realizing it could be turned to my own purposes.
For example, several related tweets might sometimes inspire a longer piece on a neglected blog such as this one. (More often, a flurry of related tweets might just inspire people to tell me to knock it off, as appears to have happened in this cartoon by my friend Matt.*) But other times, Twitter is the perfect medium for that one time-sensitive quip that isn’t worth an entire blog post (e.g., “I can understand why Gabourey Sidibe didn’t win the Best Actress Oscar. But why didn’t she win the Most Actress Oscar?”) Also, because I’m still fairly sure my mother hasn’t figured out what a Twitter is, it’s still a safe repository for all those things I shouldn’t have said (e.g., “I haven’t seen Russians choking like they did in these Olympics since I rented Throatgagger Tryouts #14.”)
Of course, only 140 characters are available for any given tweet. That leads to two realizations: First, I can hardly spare 14 characters for a “Boom! Roasted!” or even 11 for a “Quipmaster!”, let alone the 36 needed for that dirty “Ding Dang” thing. So I’d appreciate if you could just imagine a sweet harmonica lick in your head any time you read one of my tweets. You probably play the mouth organ better in your imagination than I do in real life anyway. (Oh, I’ll bet you do.)
And second, I can make a man’s head explode out of sheer, teary-eyed fury with one simple tweet: @jaypinkerton: tl;dr
He is welcome in advance.
*While I’m on the subject of James Brown’s corpse’s recent disappearance, I just want to point out that I called this one in my roundup of the 10 Most Dead People of 2006: James Brown was never dead. Any minute, he’s going to throw off the cape draped over his shoulders and run back out onstage.
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