Sunday, February 27, 2011

Christopher Hitchens and Martin Amis did it, too???

As a subscriber to Vanity Fair for over 20 years, I've always enjoyed reading Christopher Hitchen's column/articles. Whether I agree with him or not, he writes beautifully and I'm always interested in what he has to say. In the past year, besides writing poignantly (but without a speck of self-pity) about his diagnosis of esophageal cancer, he's also been writing about his long-time friendship with another writer, Martin Amis. I've read a couple of books by Amis (the son of writer Kingsley Amis).

Apparently, Hitchens and Amis liked word games. One of their favorite activities was a word game where they would substitute a word or phrase for another word. An example Hitchens gave was using 'hysterical sex' in place of the word 'love.' As in, Stop in the Name of Hysterical Sex for the movie Stop in the Name of Love. Who knew that my sister Pam and I were playing something very similar at the ages of 9 and 11?

I can't remember if we were living in New Hampshire or Texas at the time but I do remember it was a two-story house which narrows it down to one of those two states. That along with our ages at the time (around 9 and 11) and where we shared a bedroom -- which was most places we lived. Whenever neither of us could sleep and our parents hadn't come upstairs to bed yet, we'd play a game using the titles of our Nancy Drew books. However, our substitute word which we thought was hysterical (please remember our ages) was the word 'titty.'

So one of us would start with The Clue of the Broken Titty (Locket) and the other would counter with The Secret of the Wooden Titty (Lady) and we'd take it from there. We tried to recite the titles from memory and NOT look at our bookcase which was in our bedroom. The Password to Titty (Larkspur) Lane! We had to be careful about laughing too loud or we'd hear about it from one of our parents. The Hidden Titty (Staircase)! The Secret of Titty (Red) Gate Farm!

When one or both of us reached the point where we started having trouble remembering some of the titles, we cheated -- just a little -- by quickly checking the bookcase.

The Titty (Mystery) at Lilac Inn! At some point, after we'd laughed ourselves silly (and, unlike Hitchens and Amis, we were never drunk) we'd both be so exhausted that we finally fell asleep.

Who knew that other people did anything like this? Pam and I certainly didn't know it at the time. And, to think, we thought we were so clever...

Here's one for the road -- the first Nancy Drew book I ever read -- Mystery of the Moss-Covered Titty (Mansion).


  1. I loved Nancy Drew books. My friends and I would make up our own stories and act them out. Everybody wanted to be Nancy or even George--nobody wanted to be Bess.

  2. Also I love David Strathairn. He's been in a lot of movies but is often overlooked. I first saw him in Return of the Secaucus Seven. Better (and first!) than the Big Chill.

  3. I agree about the Return of the Secaucus Seven!