Sunday, 10 February 2013

The Hemingway-Schrödinger Experiment - an explanation

Polly, my 'Mews'. Died 01/01/2013. Much missed.
At midday (GMT) today, 10th February 2013, I published on the @OscarWindsor Twitter account, my original take on the famous/infamous 6-word story attributed, some say erroneously, to Ernest Hemingway.

The 'Hemingway' version is, of course: 'For sale: baby shoes, never used.'

My version (dedicated to Polly - see pic) is: 'For sale, cat carrier, never used - Erwin Schrödinger.'

To the best of my knowledge and belief, this is a completely new version of the story, in an original (hopefully humorous) treatment.

Before publishing the piece, with great hubris and pomposity, I announced, on LinkedIn and Facebook, that I would be carrying out an experiment in 'communication and psychology', inviting anyone who had the time and interest to take part and respond/RT if they felt so inclined. A number of kind people - some known to me, others new contacts - did respond.

I'd like to thank everyone who RTed or commented. Particular thanks are due to my good friend @taniahershman for not only RTing the piece, but also including it in her excellent #storysunday gathering of favourite stories.

Having involved so many people in my personal whimsy, an explanation is due. Here it is:

Way back in 2010, I blogged about how an 'original' joke of mine turned up in a BBC TV series. I still have no idea how it got there - well, none that I can substantiate. Ever since then I've been fascinated to understand more about the mechanism by which jokes, and other 'memes' (e.g., the apocryphal attribution of the 'baby shoes' story to Hemingway) gain a toe-hold and travel the world.

The Hemingway-Schrödinger Experiment? Another piece of silliness. I came up with a micro-fiction that I hoped might tickle a few people and decided I'd set it adrift in the rip-tides of the InterWeb to see what occurred.

So, should you see my version of the story - or, indeed, any further adaptation of my version - bobbing its way past your time-line, across your in-tray, or anywhere at all, really - now or at any future time. Please, give me a headsup on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or here.

I'd love to be able to chart the travels of my InterWeb message in a bottle.

Thank you in anticipation.