While other college friends would go bar hopping on weekends, my friend Mary Lou and I would go dessert hopping. We’d stop by a restaurant, order a single dessert, split it, walk to the next place, order another dessert…you get the idea. Maybe it was all the sugar, or maybe it was just that we tend to make each other laugh hysterically, but by the end of our tour d’esserts, I'm sure people who saw us staggering down the street laughing thought we were on something stronger than sugar.
This same friend and I would also entertain ourselves by playing a card game called (very appropriately) Nerds.
I don’t remember the rules, exactly, but it’s as physical a card game as there is - at least it is the way we played it.
It involved two decks and was something akin to solitaire, but you could put your cards on the other person’s field. We would fly through our decks, flipping through cards, arms jetting across the table, laughing hysterically. The goal was to unload all your cards (your entire deck). The first player to do that and shout "NERDS!" won.
Our roommates hated Nerds.
Or us nerds playing it, more likely.
Whatever. Cool people have their own code of conduct. I’m sure it makes them happy.
But not as happy as playing Nerds!
This relates to the dessert hopping story in that a king-sized Snickers was involved. We would slice the candy bar into about eight pieces, and the winner of the hand—or scrimmage, as it were—would get to eat one slice. Shuffle, shuffle, switch decks, go! That slice is mine.
You may have noticed that Snickers make cameo appearances in my books. If one of my characters is having a candy bar, it’s most likely going to be a Snickers. (Or a Reese’s, but the reason for that is a story for another day.) (Although I must digress here to insist that Resee’s are best eaten quartered.) (Like a pie.) (Really.)
Snickers are my go-to candy bar in stories because, well, authors write what they know, right? But also, Snickers remind me of Friday nights in college with a really good friend. Snickers have the power to make me laugh.
Which is why in The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones, Lincoln has a thing for Snickers. The candy bar makes more than just a cameo appearance. The "Tattletale Toilet" chapter is all about the hazards of sneakin’ a Snickers.
Hey, since it's story time, do you want an excerpt? Oh, how fun. Okay!
Diving into "Tattletale Toilet"...(h-hm)...
The next morning, Ma sprung my cage. "Lincoln!" she called from the bathroom. "Why are there bits of Snickers wrappers swimmin' around the toilet?"
I was in the middle of a dream, trapped inside the corner market by a decrepit old man who was trying to tase me for sneaking Snickers to homeless folks. His Taser was slick and could shoot from a distance, but his aim was all shaky and he was shufflin' along like a zombie in short red socks, wearing a hospital gown that was gaping wide open in back. "Don't you know it'll kill 'em?" he was shouting as I dodged him. "Send 'em straight into a diabetic coma!"
"Lincoln!" Ma hollered again. "What's a Snickers wrapper doing in the toilet?"
I was glad to shake off the zombie in red socks, but now my mind was dodging around for another escape route. How could there be wrapper left in the toilet? I'd seen it go down! And I'd used the toilet since! Had some pieces stuck to the sides? Had they made their way back up stream? How could this be?
"You sure it's not somethin' else brown?" I called back.
"Lincoln Jones, I know the difference between somethin' else brown and a candy wrapper." Her head popped out of the bathroom. "And I'm guessin' no 'No' means you got some explainin' to do?"
Having just typed this, I realize that it doesn't convey at all why the Bank Street College of Education just gave the book an incredible award. From that excerpt, the book seems like it's light and silly and funny. Which it is in parts...but in other parts it's weighty. And heavy needs a counterbalance. Especially for kids.
And what also hit me just now is that the "Tattletale Toilet" excerpt is just like taking a break from the serious things in life to play a game of Nerds. Mary Lou and I are actually very introspective people. We have serious philosophical discussions, and help each other focus on what's important in life. But we also cut loose and laugh. Because the heavy stuff by itself can be crushing. All of us need some version of Nerds, some fun escape to fortify us for when we face off with the weightier things in life.
But back to Snickers! Or, more precisely, the reason dessert-hopping and Snickers made an appearance in this post to begin with. I didn't lead with PRIZE! because, hey, if you're just here to win stuff, go away.
But for you, my faithful bloggettes or bloglodites (or…can I hear a chorus of blogonerds!?), I'm doing a Lincoln Jones giveaway. And because Lincoln loves them, a king-sized Snickers is being added to the box.
This one-winner giveaway will include: one (dare I say very cool) Lincoln Jones T-shirt (made and donated by one exquisitely nerdy librarian who, I’m positive, wants to remain anonymous), one autographed copy of The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones, plus Listening Library's audio version of it (read by the wonderful JB Adkins), and one king-sized Snickers.
If you would like to enter the drawing—anyone in the USA is eligible—all you have to do is go to the Contact tab at my website and send me an email following these guidelines:
1) Put “Snickers!” in the subject line.
2) In the body of the message include:
- Your NAME
- Your MAILING ADDRESS
- Preferred T-SHIRT SIZE. (There's a limited size selection, I will match as closely as possible.)
Anyway, I'm allowed to stuff in as much as I can in the box for no extra charge, so it'll be Lincoln Jones stuff plus a grab bag (or, you know, box) of other titles.
Get your entry in by Friday (2/10) and I’ll announce the winner right here next weekend.
That's it for this week. Next week I'm planning to do the Sammy Keyes new covers reveal. (I'm so excited to finally be able to share it with you!)
Meanwhile, if you have some game or activity that you do with a friend that always makes you laugh, please share it with us in the comments. I'm sure we'd all love to hear (or, you know, snicker!).
Thanks for stopping by. See you in the comments!