McSweeney's Quarterly Subscriptions
October 31, 2019
A Complete Classification System For the Different Actions That Follow Your Four-Year-Old Yelling “Dad, Watch This!” At You From Across the Room
Puzzling But Harmless:
- The Invisible Pirouette: A sort of half-turn with some kind of imperceptible flourish that for some unknown reason should be considered exceedingly impressive.
- The Failed Simulacrum: Your last action is mimicked as closely as possible, which is usually not all that closely.
Destructive But Not Dangerous:
- The Henry Fonda Switchblade Stab: An unexpected object is stuck sharply and without warning into some other inanimate object.
- The Jenga Finale: Some recently-constructed tower is razed in the loudest conceivable way.
Dangerous to Self:
- The Toonces Finale: Your child rolls or steps off of a medium to high surface onto the floor.
- La Quebrada: Your child attempts a proto-swan dive off the window sill or dining room table.
Dangerous to Others:
- The Madman’s Discus: Something is hurled, discus-like, across the room.
- The Wild Thing Vaughn: Something is hurled, baseball-like, across the room.
Reap the Whirlwind:
- The Bond Villain’s Device: A clear smirk, followed by a minor movement that, clearly intentionally, causes a chain reaction of events winding up in significant damage and destruction.
- The Kobayashi Maru: An action for which there is no successful way to prevent significant physical and/or psychological damage from occurring to all living creatures within 10-30 feet.
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