just what I need: more words

What do I want for Christmas?

A new refrigerator poetry set.

Well, okay, not exactly for Christmas. If you’re actually going out of your way to buy me a Christmas present, then you can probably do better than refrigerator poetry. Call me cheap, but I’d rather get something else if you’re buying.

But if you happen to have an extra one lying around, like, for example, as a give-away that you got from some company at a national-whatever convention, then I want one. I saw someone with refrigerator poetry lined up along the top of their office cubicle at work today, and I thought that was pretty cool. I could have a lot of fun with that kind of thing.

But I’m never going to go out and buy one of those things.

I mean, lets lets face it — if you’re anything like me, you’re never actually going to pay for a refrigerator poetry set. Shoot… the novelty wore off like 8 years ago. They can still be a fun little diversion, but the key is to collect a whole bunch of free giveaways from different places, in order to have enough words to really be able to say something.

Because, say, you buy a Starbucks refrigerator poetry set — then you’re stuck with 137 words like “cocoa” “lustrous,” “percolate,” and “bittersweet.” Not particularly helpful if you want to create anything other than ad copy for coffee ads. As a matter of fact, that’s probably where they would be most useful. Instead of distributing them to the general public, Starbucks should just give sets to their ad execs — it’ll save ’em time in the boardroom:

“Whaddya got, Johnson?”
“Well sir, how about… ‘Aroma Mix Loves So Strong’?”

“No, I’m pretty sure that was a Celine Dion single at some point. But keep trying. Here, I pilfered this set from the Quizno’s rep. Maybe you can make it edgy.”

Yeah, so my idealized refrigerator poetry set would consist of my favorite brands of things. See now that would be fun. I’d maybe get a Jones’ Soda brand set (with words like, “fizzy” “explosive” and maybe, if I was lucky, a few Don-King-esque ones like “tangeristic” or “frutangumous”) and then follow that up with a Homestar Runner set (“e-eemail,” “store,” “lazors” and “Trogdor the Burninator”), then round it out with a set from ESPN (“shoots,” “scores,” “en fuego,” and “booyah” would all come in handy).

I’d love to make poetry with a set like that.

Of course, the very idea of refrigerator poetry might be offensive to actual, published poets. People who slave over their words for hours on end might not appreciate having their livelihood reduced to a wordy game of connect-the-dots on somebody’s Frigidaire.

“So, what is it that you do?”

“Well, I’m a poet. I use words to paint pictures.”

“Really? That’s wonderful… my daughter loves to do that when I’m making macaroni-and-cheese.”

Yeah, I’m guessing that buying your local poet laureate a refrigerator poetry set isn’t necessarily going to set their muse on fire. Unless, of course, someone makes a bestselling book of poetry that way — then all bets are off. Then you’ll see out-of-work poets flooding their local Targets and Wal-Marts, trying to get boxes and boxes of those things. Isn’t that how it always works? Somebody succeeds at something, and then everybody else flocks in to try their hand at it.

Kinda like blogging, really. Too bad I wasn’t first.

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