The Lotvs-Eaters Launch

Here at the Lab, we're proud to present In the Land of the Lotvs Eaters, a serialized story, taking as its medium the weblog.

Meet Ben Duggan. Ben's living proof of the rule that you don't have to have something to say to have a weblog. Ben himself would probably call it "just barely living proof." He's in a bit of a rut right now; he's more than a little disillusioned with the narrative of his life. He likes Saturday-morning cartoons; he hates people. He's not really a bad person, just a little, well, bitter. Ben has a worse-than-dead-end job, a noodge for a roommate, a useless college degree, no love life to speak of, a Playstation, a sarcastic streak a mile wide, and a weblog. And it's on that weblog, located at, that Ben's story, narrated in his inimicable style, is about to unfold.

What's over there right now is prologue: some background to get you into the swing of Ben's life, fill in few of the key phrases in Ben's cynical argot, and generally introduce you to Mr. Duggan. The plot, such as there is, will kick in a bit later on this week, and will run for about a month, in fairly frequent installments -- basically, whenever Ben feels like yammering about himself for a bit.

Ben is, within the confines of his invented reality, a "real" person. I have a plot outline in mind, but I'm not writing ahead: every day, Ben drags himself out of bed and says whatever's on his mind, whether it's a rave review of Legend of Drunken Master or the way he completely wasted the weekend. He's got an email address, and he's got a message board, where he and his roommate make fun of each other and their guests. You're welcome to participate in the discussion, but please respect the narrative boundaries of the story. This story is not about being "meta." Well, at least not in that particular way . . .

As previously hinted, the Lab will be in power-save mode for the duration of the Lotvs-Eaters run. I've got a good feeling about this one: I've got some ideas I've been juggling for a while, and Ben's so-called adventures -- the voyages of Vlysses, if you will (hiss, groan)-- feel like the perfect chance to really develop those ideas and do something interesting with them. Please give Lotvs-Eaters a look; I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I'm enjoying writing it.

As one final advertisement for and introduction to the story, I'd like to reprint here something Ben wrote:

Twenty Rules for Life

  1. Your attentions are inherently offensive to others.
  2. They are not talking about you, not ever.
  3. Remember to major in something fun, because it is impossible to major in anything useful.
  4. Never make phone calls, because you might have to leave a message on an answering machine that doesn't let you try again until you don't sound like a stuttering idiot.
  5. Inability to work up courage is your brain's way of telling you don't really want to do it.
  6. Decide up front whether you'd rather be invisible or humiliated, so you know what to expect.
  7. The danger of setting low expectations for yourself is that you feel even more pathetic when you fail to meet them.
  8. Being smart creates more problems than it solves.
  9. Look forward to growing old, because when you become senile you will finally be able to forget all those painful memories you wish you could forget but can't.
  10. Job satisfaction is for the rich.
  11. Someday you will meet someone, and you will just know, and you will be wrong.
  12. That bitterness you feel is justified.
  13. Being able to articulate what the problem is won't make it go away.
  14. It feels good to be needed; it's a good idea to have a few really needy friends.
  15. Somewhere out there is a planet where Playstation is a marketable skill; your task is to find this planet.
  16. There is no memory so good that it cannot be poisoned by later events.
  17. Don't get uppity.
  18. Just because you can't live up to your principles doesn't make them bad ones.
  19. Really good friends will lie to you if they think it will make you feel better.
  20. Your computer does not love you back.

And oh, yes, one last warning. Loyal Lab readers will undoubtedly know that, at times, the content of this site has been a bit unsuitable for the young'uns. Ben's web page is the same way, only he has a potty-mouth, too. Leave the tykes behind when you surf on over.