Saturday, 5 November 2011

Dr Ernid T. Learnid: the biography

Each time I see a new (auto)biography come out on some B-grade celebrity, I have a feeling a better book dies. Not in the same way as the classics commit suicide each time a young reader opens "Twilight", but a piece of literature dies all the same. And they always have some dull title such as "My Life". At least they could try and be clever, like David Attenborough calling his "Life on Air" in reference to his "Life" series of documentaries, for example "Life in Cold Blood". I am not interested in reading "My Life", whether it's the story of Bart Cummings, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee (seriously, what's with the cricketers?), Helen Keller, Bill Clinton, Jane Fonda, Leon Trotsky, Fidel Castro, Serena Williams, Brendan Sheerin (who?), Isadora Duncan or Magic Johnson. Admittedly Helen Keller's life sounded pretty interesting, but at least she had an excuse for an unoriginal title. I would assume that the others were also deaf and blind if they couldn't think of anything better, or that as they are not known for their literary skills, their editors could do better. Calling your memoirs "My Life", while accurate, is unoriginal and doesn't scream "read me". Not to mention there's really no way of trying to convince the reader it might actually be interesting. And some of these peoples' lives just don't sound interesting. Additionally, if I didn't have reason enough not to read Tony Blair's book, the title "A Journey" threw me off completely.

In light of this, I started thinking of what I would call my autobiography. As I have no doubt that nobody anywhere would want to read it, it would need a more creative title than the stories of the lives of others we don't have much curiosity for. Here are some of them:

- Description of a Struggle (Makes me sound like a genius for referencing Kafka, could also boost sales if mistaken for Kafka's work of the same name. Would need to be released after my death to avoid impending law suit)
- You Idiot (One my friend Danni came up with, but I'm not sure she'll ever read this)
- How to Take a Fall (Hints at my enjoyment of Elliott Smith's music, and also the fact that I fell off a building and lived to tell the tale)
- Gathering no Moss (I don't actually like this one, but an elderly gentleman suggested it to me after we swapped stories on a flight home from some far flung country and I don't want him to think I forgot)
- The Tales of Ernid the Bard (Makes me sound like a wonderful writer of folklore, if not a tragic Harry Pot-head)
- Things I Only Told my Mother About Afterwards (Well, that is most things. I'm no idiot. It's pretty much a way of saying "story of my life" without sounding like a total bore)
- Booksmart Devil (Wouldn't you want to read a book written by someone so described?)
- Let's Get out of This Country (Perhaps this should be travel stories, or stories to read while travelling)
- Your New Favourite Book (Everyone in the world would buy it)
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar (It would already have sold a trillion copies)

Now quick, go out and buy it before it sells out! It will certainly beat any book called "My Life".