Try This: Drinking Games
Copy editors will hate you
Did you ever play the game “Hi, Bob!”
In college, people would sit around watching reruns of the Bob Newhart Show. Each time a character would enter a scene, it was the comic shtick for them to say, “Hi, Bob.” A running joke. Often a dozen characters would enter at once and all instantly say, “Hi, Bob.” Per the rules of the game, each time you heard “Hi, Bob” you had to finish your beer. By the end of a thirty-minute episode you’d be wasted.
After that we’d swallow goldfish and wear rah-rah racoon coats while roaring around in Stutz Bearcats. Good times.
Monica Drake’s favorite drinking game was (is?) the “Dead Girl Drinking Game.” You sit with your friends and channel surf through cable networks. Each time you land on a scene that shows a lovely young woman being zipped into a body bag, you have to guzzle your drink. It was fun and it was political. If you clicked fast enough, you could see how television writers loved to kill women, and you could get wasted.
The larger take-away.
For a longer exploration on repetition, click here.
If that don’t work, try clicking here.
As a last resort, search the topic Repetition as Trapped Emotion in Tennessee Williams.
And it’s not just in the case of The Glass Menagerie. Once Suddenly, Last Summer gets rolling, play the drinking game. As the extended tease, everyone tries to derail Catherine Holly from telling her tale. Count how many times she tries to reclaim lost ground by redirecting with some version of “So we went to Cabeza de Lobo…!”
For most of us, life is just the repetition of our identity—i.e., You are a Cheever! When we see such a failed strategy in fiction, we recognize the fault. But in our own lives, we still do it to justify our fails and wins.
Being forewarned is being forearmed. Copy editors hate repetition, which they call “echoing.” Almost as much as they hate words in a passage that rhyme seemingly by accident. Hell, do it anyway.