Gwendoogle Part CXLI – Lightning Scars and John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

GwendoogleAnswers kicked off with a big ol’ WHAT IF

Kathryn searched: If someone were to drop a baby with a lightning bolt shaped scar on YOUR doorstep, what would you do?
Bring it inside and see if the scar washed off.

Then look for a note.

If I had no idea who this child was, I would call the police. (I assume that is what you’re supposed to do when you find someone’s child abandoned on your doorstep.) After spending whatever time it took them to arrive worrying that the kid’s parents had a reason for choosing my particular doorstep, I would wind up asking about the process of gaining guardianship of the kid. Because I have a protective streak about two light-years wide and even this imaginary infant is tripping it. Gosh darnnit.

If I had any sort of suspicion that I was related to this child, I would likely spent the next fours hours having a staring contest with it while I tried to decide which of my siblings to call first. With a one in four chance of getting it right and being able to deliver some righteous anger about babies in baskets, and a three in four chance of stepping into the world’s most awkward and most tense family conversation (“WHY WOULD YOU THINK I WOULD LEAVE MY BABY WITH YOU — wait — WHOSE IS IT?!“), it wouldn’t be something I wanted to get wrong.

MadamLibrarian searched: What would get you to return/sell half of your book collection?
At this point in time, having moved across the country two months ago and pared down my collection in the process, the only answer I can give is a personality-altering concussion.

All right. That’s a slight exaggeration.

I’m a fairly lucky individual; I have about one hundred and fifty books on my shelves right now. Of those, I counted fifty-one which I would deem irreplaceable either because they are signed, or because those particular copies have significant value to me personally. I have twenty-seven books on my shelf I have never read, and therefore could fairly easily be returned without a great sense of loss. Under duress, it really wouldn’t take me that long to pass judgement on all the books that were somewhere in between.

And that is the most honest answer: duress.

I grew up in a home with bookshelves in every room. And in the stairwell. When I was ten, we moved, and I would venture to say that fully a third of our boxes were filled with books. When I moved to my current home, I would say half of my things were books. I’ve had no choice but to admit that those stacks of fiction, more than anything else I own, are what I use to tell myself that I’m home.

So, what you’re asking is, how much would it cost to get Linus to give up his security blanket?

Kathryn searched: Is my female protagonist classically beautiful? She was when she was male.
Short answer: yes.

Long answer: The brevity of this question forces me to make a few assumptions, the first of them being that your protagonist worked well in your story before, and the only reason you’re swapping genders is to make your protagonist work better. As such, it’s going to be my general opinion that you change as little as you have to.

I’m also assuming that there was a reason why your protagonist was beautiful, that it impacted the story in some way. Perhaps in the kind of first impression your protagonist makes, perhaps in how some relationships form, perhaps just in what your protagonist can get away with. If you built something on your protagonist being beautiful, there’s no reason to wreck it now and start over, even if its just that you wanted your readers to react to your protagonist in a certain way.

And I’m assuming that when you say classically beautiful, you do not mean that your male character looked Thor and you’re considering whether or not your female character should look like Jessica Rabbit. Don’t make her look like Jessica Rabbit.

Finally, I’m assuming that you have not yet come up with any answer that excited you on your own. If you have, or do in the future, you should go with that. Always follow your excitement down the rabbit hole. Your friends will drag you back out if they have to (after they see a draft).

MadamLibrarian searched: What are three signs of bad luck?
1) An owl in daylight

2) Your name, written in red

3) Pigs moving away from you

Flip the Otter searched: Who is John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt?
As far as we know, no one. The song likely originated in the early 1900s, possibly from one of the vaudeville acts which were popular in immigrant communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. At our best guess, this song was created as a way to laugh back at English speakers who seemed inordinately amused by long, European names.

The name, when broken down, is simply a variation off “John Smith,” with Jacob thrown in (probably just for alteration) and Jingleheimer created for laughs (as it indicated that this man’s ancestors hailed from “The Jingle House”).

Have a question for Gwendoogle? Leave it in comments below and I’ll be back next week to answer it.

The question bucket currently has: 12 questions

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