There’s something to be said for guilty pleasures; you know, those TV shows, movies, or songs that are so bad they actually wind up being good. That’s why we asked a low-quality content site to give us a book report on “Of Mice and Men” a couple of months ago, and it’s why we’ve now asked another, separate company to tickle our funny bones with their take on the classic comedy routine “Who’s on First?”.
Here’s how it worked: We asked the company to come up with a 700-word story involving two guys who are discussing baseball. It had to feature plenty of comedic confusion with one of the main characters making frequent references to strange player nicknames. And that’s it. That’s all we told them. They gave us our choice of “quality of writer” for the project, but we went with the equivalent of “surprise me.” Here’s what they gave us:
“…and so Juan, that’s a fast and dirty explanation of baseball,” said Johnny as he showed the usher their tickets. “I think you’ll be able to catch on and reel in the rest once you’ve watched a few innings,” he said to his new found foreign friend.
“Catch on and reel in?” asked Juan?
“Oh you bet buddy,” said Johnny with a smile.
Starting down the stairs of the ball park while looking for their section on the tickets and trying not to step on his own toes, “let’s go take our seats. We can watch the players loosen up before the game. We’ll get a couple of dogs, maybe a couple cold ones,” Johnny said, allready double fisting a pair of half empty beers.
OK so a few sentences in and we’ve already got plenty of typos (boldfaced above) and assorted yucky stuff. That’s kind of a deal breaker. But let’s see, maybe we’re judging too soon. Perhaps Johnny and Juan will deliver comedy gold in the next few sentences.
Still bewildered at himself — why he had followed this gringo out of a perfectly good fish and chips joint to go see whatever type of game it was this guy wanted him to see — Juan mumbled in Spanglish as he stepped down the stairs looking at the immense crowd, “OK, bud I no like taste of dog. Taste too much like Chinese,” he said.
Following the half inebreated North American he said, “I no know for sure, bud I think cold chinese food es called ‘sushi.’”
Annnd we’ve got ethnic stereotypes (and more typos)! To say the ”dog taste too much like Chinese” is hack material would be too kind to hacks everywhere. We’ll chalk up “bud” and “es” to the Spanglish thing, but who knows, they could just be more typos too.
Grinning and laughing goodheartedly at the clean-cut, serious and sober latino man over his shoulder, Johnny chuckeled at what he assumed was sarcasm, “Don’t like hot dogs? Do you have them in… where are you from again amigo?”
“Oh, ahhh… uhh, si, tenamos “perros calientes,’” said Juan as he continued to look around, listening to the tulmit of the packed stadium, a little overwhelmed at the sheer number of people. Correcting himself, “yes, I know hot dog. Look like eel, but no have head o tail,” he said thinking the good natured, but drunk, gringo’s idea of food had gone from bad to worse.
…just like this routine. And seriously, what’s a “tulmit”? Was the writer looking for “tumult”? We’re looking for the exit row by the way. But no, there’s more to read. And here come the wacky name references!
Before taking his seat next to Juan, Johnny’s face lit up, “look at that old-timer sitting down there near the dugout,” he pointed plopping down in his seat, spilling more beer with each motion, “that’s Catfish Hunter. Boy could he hook ‘em back in the day.”
“Interesante,” Juan said, correcting himself almost immediately, “interesting, but in my country, people hunt fish using net. Hook good for one fish. Net catch many more, many faster,” he said proudly, happy he could impress the gringo by staying ahead in the conversation.
Grinning, Johnny laughed, curious about how serious his amigo remained, even when telling jokes, “and over there the the batting cage is that rookie Mike Trout,” he said pointing, “he developed that big cut of his up in Winnepeg with the Walleyes Johnny said admiringly.
“Trout?” asked Juan.
“Yea, Trout playing for the walleyes,” snorted Johnny, “damned funny huh!”
“I haven’t mentioned this,” the gringo talked on, “but I played a little baseball myself. In fact, I played with one of the base coaches we’ll be watching today, Tim Salmon. He played for the Angels his entire career,” Johnny said with a reminiscent look on his face, “we played ball together for the Bridgeport Bluefish. They’re not part of Major League Baseball, but it’s still part of a pro league.”
“Salmon? The fish?” asked Juan?
“What a hoot, huh? Salmon playing for the Bluefish,” Johnny bellowed between gulps of beer.
Jumping out of his seat fast enough to startle his latino amigo — clapping, whooping and hollering like a wild man — Johnny started yelling, “there he is! There he is! My favorite! Mike Carp!”
Starting to realize baseball had allot more to do with fishing than the gringo had originally indicated, Juan surveyed the field while the excited gringo carried on, “so today we’re watching the Tampa Bay Rays and the Florida Marlins. Ever heard of them?”
Pleased with himself for being a quick study, Juan said, “oh si senior. Both very good. Much better than hot dog. Good for sushi I hear!”
Now we’ll give the writer some credit for an original premise, and they certainly know their fish-themed baseball players, but the sheer number of typos and oddly constructed sentences left us more limp than a wet dish rag. It’s also safe to say the tale of Johnny and Juan will not be threatening the legend of “Who’s on First?” anytime soon.