The Random Quotes database at MondayMorningMemo.com currently contains 4,376 quotes.
About a third of these are quotes you can easily find online.
Nearly half are delightful passages I’ve transcribed from books, movies, or TV shows, and archived for future reference.
Five percent are witty and wonderful statements made by friends during lunch or in casually written emails.
And exactly 455 of those 4,376 quotes are words of my own.
Quoting oneself might appear to be insufferably egotistical, but in truth, my only objective is to capture thoughts I might want to think upon in the future. Hence my latest addition to the database, made only moments ago, “Boxwine and Soupline are barstool buddies of Spraytan and Parlay. The girl is Parlay’s sister, Parfait.”
Innocent readers who stumble upon that quote in the future will doubtless scratch their heads and say, “What the hell?” never suspecting it’s only a note I scribbled to myself about characters in a short story yet to be written.
But today, because you are special, I will explain the backstory of those 5 characters.
A dozen years ago I hired Devin Wright and trained him to be a media buyer, a professional negotiator. At least once a day I would pop into his office and ask him a wildly unexpected question. Devin would always laugh, and that would be that.
But one day about 7 years ago I popped in, pointed at him and asked, “Devin, is that a spray tan?”
Devin sputtered and coughed and denied that he would ever do such a thing, so of course being from Oklahoma, I was required to forever thereafter introduce him as Spraytan Wright.
Wine snob Boxwine Harrison has the office next to Spraytan.
I decided that Boxwine’s little brother would be Soupline.
“But whence,” you ask, “come Parlay and Parfait?”
Be patient. I’m getting to that.
A week ago, Spraytan put $200 on an online gambling site so that he could place bets on sporting events. He quickly turned his $200 into $600, then got bored and lost the whole $600 playing blackjack.
His pirate friend Dave Neubert asked, “Did you check your bonus money?”
“When you put money into an account, they often give you a few bonus dollars just to keep you gambling.”
Spraytan checked, and sure enough, he had 4 dollars and 41 cents in bonus money. So he chose 12 fights that would happen later that day, picked his 12 fighters, and parlayed his $4.41 across the entire dozen, which means he had to pick 12 winners in advance or his bet would be forfeited. If even one of his fighters lost, Spraytan would get nothing.
Big deal, right? It’s four dollars and 41 cents. And not even his money.
So he went to get a haircut.
When he got up from the barber chair, Spraytan checked on his bet. Ten of the 12 fights were over, and his fighters had won all 10 fights! He drove home quickly, to say the least.
They tell me the gravel from his tires is still flying above that parking lot.
Sliding sideways into his driveway, Spraytan ran into his house, turned on the TV and began shouting instructions to fighter number 11. But that guy lost. Then, when Spraytan checked his bet, it turns out that he had bet on the other guy, the winner!
When his 12th fighter won the 12th fight, Spraytan looked at his cell phone screen to see that his four dollars and 41 cents was now three thousand, seven hundred and twelve dollars and two cents.
When he told me what happened, I said, “Spraytan, I believe you’ve earned a new nickname. After today, I’m going to start calling you Parlay.”
“But of course Parlay isn’t a word I’m really familiar with. The truth is I never heard that word until you told me your story just now, so I’m sure you’ll understand if I occasionally call you Parfait.”
The smile disappeared and Devin said, “I think we should just stick with Spraytan.”
Walking across the parking lot, I began thinking about a series of adventures involving Boxwine and Spraytan and Parlay and Parfait and Boxwine’s little brother, Soupline.
And then I wrote myself a note and posted it where I’d be sure not to lose it.
Self-quotation doesn’t necessarily mean you’re egotistical.
Sometimes it just means you’re nuts.
Roy H. Williams
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