Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Ray Bradbury and "Italian Sex Play"

One of my and my friend Amy's favorite things to do out in bars, after we've had a couple drinks, is demand that random bar patrons tell us what their favorite words are and, if warranted, berate them over their choices (I freely admit to being nerdy and bookish). We're looking for people to choose words for the word's sake alone, how it sounds, how your mouth feels saying it, etc. The word's meaning should have nothing to do with someone choosing it as a response. So... "freedom" would be a bad choice but "persnickety" would be a good choice. Yeah, it's pretty arbitrary but the game is designed for our alcohol-enhanced entertainment and as a means of identifying like-souls.

Anyway, at a panel discussion on the 1st Amendment the other night with Ray Bradbury, Brian Lamb from CSPAN and others, a student asked Ray Bradbury what his favorite word was to which he replied "yes." I was so deflated. Granted, he wasn't aware he was playing (up until that moment, neither was I) nor would he be familiar with "the rules" but "yes"... How hackneyed; why not "hope" or worse yet "peace". Bah!

Well... you know, I couldn't just leave it alone. And no... I didn't stand up and heckle him. But later, when he was signing my book, I said, "I was a little surprised by your favorite word - 'yes'. Mine is 'funicular'." He asked "Why?" I said "Because, it's just fun to say." He said, "Hhhmmm, you don't only like a word for what it means..." Then he said, "It sounds like a form of Italian sex play." or he might have said, "sounds like a form of Italian sex toy." I'm really not sure; the video camera operator was closing in on us, so I decided to skip asking for further clarification.

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