The TableTalk Grand Tour

The Scene: Macdaffy, Oolong, Letterman, and Randall are playing word games in the Members Lounge. GaudyNight, Jeanny (rhymes with Penny) are discussing matters religious in the Mind and Spirit folder, the Otters are Ottering, the WAYDRNers are WAYDRNing, the Harpys are Harpying, in short, a typical afternoon on TT.

Then, a bus pulls up.  It looks at first glance like some sort of tourist bus, but the windows are totally blacked out.  A bunch of people stumble out, blinking in the sunlight, gawking at everything around them, taking in their unfamiliar surroundings.

Macdaffy prods Letterman. “Great, they're here.  Dude! You’re on!”
Letterman looks around, confused, “Huh?”
Oolong glances at Letterman, “Remember when we drew straws last week? You’re the designated Greeter Guy/Tour Guide this week, remember?!?  Now get going!” he mutters, returning to his word game with Macdaffy and Randall.

Letterman gets up, walks over to the crowd of people. “Yeah, uh, hi. You must be the new crop of victim-, er, newbies. Hi, um, my name’s Letterman. Welcome to Tabletalk, the home of sophisticated, erudite, intellectual discussion on the World Wide Web.“

[at which point, a loud, satisfied belch emanates from the general direction of the word game being played in the Member Lounge and someone asks if there is still any Budweiser left in the fridge]

“I'm the designated Greeter Guy/Tour Guide/Whatever.  I’m gonna take you on a tour of the joint, show you around, introduce you to everyone, speaking of which, [waves around] Newbies, everybody, everybody, Newbies.”

[No one pays them any attention]

“There, you’ve been introduced. Let’s , um, get this show on the road, shall we?”

[Letterman starts walking toward an imposing, magnificent building that looks like a library, the group dutifully following behind him]

“Um. First up on the Grand Tour. The Books folder. You got books? You like reading? Want to know what other people are reading? Books you like, books you don’t, books you hate. Romance, Sci-Fi, Mystery, whatever you want, we got it here in the Books folder. Um, all kinds of discussions about books going on in here. Lots of good, spirited discussion about all things books.”

[someone in the Books folder looks out, mutters a whispered “Sssssh!” then returns to the Books folder]

“Anyway, that’s the Books folder. Moving on.”

[Letterman heads to the Family Life folder, from which the sounds of children playing, screaming, yelling, crying, and carrying on]

“Welcome to TT’s Romper Room. Got kids? You want kids? Need parenting advice/help/hairpats? Then here is your place to hang out, um, the Family Life folder on TableTalk, um, lots of parents, talking about kids, what to do with kids, what to feed them, when to have them, when not to have them, that sort of thing. What if you don’t want kids? Um, there’s a discussion for that, we’ll get to that. The Family Life folder, lots of good advice about parenting here. You’ll never find a better, more sophisticated, caring group of people than in this folder!”

[at which point, Lola Faire yells “Shankfest!” and various implements of destruction begin flying around, along with body parts, blood, and a pair of roller skates]

“Anyway, moving right along.”

[Letterman heads toward the Gadgets folder, carefully stepping around the pocket protectors, slide rules, and cans of Pepsi strewn about] “Um, you like gadgets, toys, computers, that sort of thing, here’s the place for you. Got a question about your computer, iPod, your new camera? Here’s the place. The geeks here are the best geeks anywhere and any question you got about tech stuff, they can answer.”

[the group looks in warily, then follows Letterman as he steps over to the next folder]

“Here we go. The Table Talk Institute For Advanced Discussion and Learning, also known as the Health and Science folder.”

[he walks around the exercise equipment, Bunsen burners, hoods, machines, and other accoutrements of the Health and Science folder, the group following behind, amazed at all the high-tech stuff around them]

“Um, the Health and Science folder, home of everything related to Health and all things Science and Scientific. You want to work out? Lose weight? Got health questions?  Learn about the difference between Creationism and real science. This is the place for you! The Health and Science folder on TT. Lots of smart people hang out here.”

[at which point, someone inside exclaims, “Hey, let’s see what happens when I hold this lit match and fart at the same time!”]

“Moving right along.”

[Letterman heads to the Home and Away folder]

“Here we are, at the TT Travel Agency. You want to go somewhere exotic, talk about your hometown, where you’ve been, where you want to go, that sort of thing, then, um, here’s your place. The TT Home and Away folder, all sorts of talking about um, the 50 states and all over the world going on in here.”

[Tona sticks her head out of the folder. “Hey, not all of us live in North America, you know!”, retreats back inside folder]

“Um, yeah, the Home and Away folder. Anyway, moving on."

[Letterman heads to the next folder, carefully avoiding the flower beds and garden pots]

“Um, the House and Garden folder. Got questions about what to eat tonight? How ‘bout how to fix a chandelier? Got a garden? Here’s the place for you. All sorts of stuff about your home, home repairs, menu planning, your pets, that sort of thing.”

[Someone in the group sees a banana slug and grimaces]

“Um, yeah, there’s a discussion for what to do about those in this folder. Anyway, moving right along.”

[Letterman steps toward the next folder, which bears a strong resemblance to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, only on a much, much grander scale]

“The um, Imagination folder. You want to play word games, play with words, write limericks, use your imagination, um, have fun? Here’s your place, the Imagination folder, home of TT’s resident punsters, jokesters, and those who want to push the boundaries of their imaginations.”

[The group looks in, amazed, as people are bouncing off the walls, caroming gently here and there, all over the walls, floor, and ceiling, having lots of fun]

“Yeah, the Imagination folder. Great place. Moving right along now.”

[Letterman steps over to the next folder, which bears a striking resemblance to a newsroom]

“The Issues and News folder. You want info about current events, discussions about what’s going on in the world. Someone you know have a birthday coming up? Here’s your place. The Issues and News folder, lots of stuff about what’s going on in our society and in the world.”

[Letterman moves on to the next folder, the group following him]

“Here we go. The Member Lounge. You can relax, kick off your shoes, hang out, do whatever. Want to talk about the discussions? Here’s your place. Want to talk about the discussion about the discussion? Want to talk about the discussion about the discussion about the discussion? Uh, whatever you want. Here’s the place. The Member Lounge is where you can relax and hang out.”

[the group looks in, sees Bugbutting, Meta-discussing, TTCing, etc. going on, they look on in wonderment until Letterman starts moving again to the next folder, an enormous, cathedral-like structure, its vast spires and towers climbing high into the mists, regal and stately. Letterman steps around the vestments, surplices, incense burners, and candles, the group following, gawking at the Gothic majesty all around them]

“Ah yes, here we are at the Church of Our Lady of the Holy Sepulchre of Perpetual Bickering, also known as the Mind and Spirit folder. Want to talk about God, if there is a God or Gods, have a prayer request, religious stuff, spooky things, what good is religion, that sort of thing. Here’s your place. Let’s see if the Rev. GaudyNight or perhaps Rev. Jeanny (rhymes with Penny) are around and about.”

[Letterman peeks into the Atheism thread for a moment, steps back out]

“Yeah, um, they’re having a vigorous discussion in there about God, or something. It looks like they’re pretty busy right now, otherwise Rev. Gaudy or her mom or whoever else would show us around. Anyway, moving on to the next folder.”

[Letterman heads toward a large, multiplex cinema next to the church, the group following him]

“Um, yeah. The TT Cineplex. Want to talk about movies? Movies you’ve seen, movies you want to see, movies you like, movies you don’t like, movies you hate, annoying things at the movies, celebrities you like, celebrities you don’t like. Here’s the place for you, anything about movies, um, here’s your folder. The TableTalk Movies folder. Yes, we do have popcorn and candy too for you.”

[Letterman heads to the next folder, a large auditorium next to the multi-plex]

“Here we are at the TT Music And Performing Arts Center, also known as the Music and Performing Arts folder. Like music? Want to talk about music, the songs you love, the songs you hate, plays you’ve seen, the Bard, that sort of thing. Here you go, the Music and Performing Arts folder is the place for you. You can talk about music, the arts, theater, all that to your heart’s content here.”

[the group listens for a moment, hearing a cacophony of clashing musical styles, genres, and rhythms before following Letterman as he heads toward a bridge across a moat, ending at a large, wooden door in an otherwise nondescript blank wall. They can hear the faint sounds of shouting, yelling, screaming, and general loud disagreement going on behind the door]

“Um, yeah, the Politics folder. What are those troll-like creatures under the bridge? Um, this is where we keep our resident trolls. If they start annoying you, just drop them in the ENUF thing there in your Preferences settings and they won’t bother you again. If you really want to go in the Politics folder, Salon Media Group, Inc. will issue you a flame-proof suit for your convenience. Onward.”

[the group looks at the bridge for a moment, then all back away from it, following Letterman as he heads toward a secluded, quiet area set off by itself, away from everything else]

“The Private Life folder. You want to talk about stuff that you wouldn’t tell your best friend. Here’s the place? What not to wear? Rudeness in all its forms, don’t want kids, here you go. The Private Life folder is for you.”

[The group looks in for a moment. The WAYDRNers are WAYDRNing, the Otters are Ottering, and no one pays them any heed, they turn and follow Letterman as he goes to the next folder, a large, sports arena]

“Um, the, uh, Sports folder. Want to talk about sports, your favorite teams, games you play, sports you like, how your favorite team is doing? Here you go. The TableTalk Sports Complex folder is the place for you. Just remember to wear your helmet and shoulder pads.”

[the group watches several games going on at once before following Letterman to a large, 60-inch, rear-projection TV]

“Um, yeah, the Television folder. You want to talk about your favorite TV shows? The ones you like, the ones you don’t like, your favorite TV commercials, least favorite TV commercials, what you’re watching, what you want to watch, then here you go. The Television folder is the place for you!”

[the groups watches in fascination at several different programs going on at the same time before following Letterman as he heads further along the list]

“TT Central, kind of like a one-stop shop for everything related to TableTalk. Got a question about a thread? Here you go? Want to report a thread that’s past 10,000 posts? Here you go. Want to test something out before posting? This is the place. You can talk to the management when they’re around and about and generally get an idea of what’s what at this folder, which leads us directly to the next place, right down here.”

[He points to a small Welcome mat on the ground]

“The, um, Welcome folder. Stick your head in there, introduce yourself, meet other TTers, that’s what this place is for.”

[the groups gawks at the little welcome mat for a few moments, before following Letterman to an imposing, white building that looks very much like the White House]

“Um, the White House folder. You want to talk about the president? The presidential race? How bad Sarah Palin is? How much of a disaster George W. was? Here’s your place. The White House folder is for all things presidential, and some things not.  Yeah that little bistro over there is the White House Bar & Grill.  Great place”

[the group gazes at the building, listening to the many voices inside before following Letterman to a nondescript office building next to the White House folder]

“Yeah, the um, Work Life folder. Um, want to talk about your working world? Like your job? Don’t like your job? Looking for a new line of work? Need to brush up on your resume? Here’s the place for you. The Work Life folder is for all things related to work, the working world, jobs, that sort of thing.”

[Letterman then stops, waves his hand around dramatically]

“And um, there you have it. This concludes the nickel-and-dime tour of TableTalk. We hope you enjoy your stay here and we want you to stick around, if you like the place. Have a nice day!”

[He exits stage left, someone in the group sees a hat on the ground and picks it up. “What’s a ‘Slut Hat?’ this person asks. No one knows the answer. Several people walk off, “man, this place blows” says one as they leave. Others mill around. “I could get to like this place,” one says to the others. Meanwhile, Letterman has returned to the Members Lounge. “How'd it go?” Macdaffy asks him.  Letterman thinks for a moment or two.  “I think it worked. A lot of fresh fish in this group, but I think I scared off the smarter ones.”]


back to my homepage