I've been thinking about context lately, which sounds serious, but we all know will take a sharp detour into Ludicrous Land some time in the not-so-distant future. See, context is important to writers. Too much context, and your readers end up slogging through pages of description at approximately the same speed you'd use swimming across an ocean made of blue raspberry Jell-o. Admittedly, I've never swam through Jell-o, but I imagine it would be slow going. And then, if you put too little context in, you end up with what feels like two severed heads having a conversation. And while I can see the comic potential in such a conversation, I'm not sure it's really the right choice for everyone.
So context is important. One time, I saw a production of Romeo and Juliet where they decided to be all experimental and set it on a spaceship. Which made for some terrific costumes but otherwise added nothing to R&J. I think that instead of stabbing people with swords they put them out the airlock, and I think that Romeo sounded a little like Darth Vader when he had his helmet on, but maybe I made that last part up. I don't really remember the show; I blocked it out.
All of this came to mind quite vividly (except for the parts that I don't remember) yesterday when I found myself shouting, "Eat the baby already!
Please don't run away. Once I tell you the context, it'll make a lot more sense. See, my twin girls, Left and Right, were eating cereal. And Left shows me a spoon full of Cocoa Puffs and says, "Baby!"
"Cereal," I respond, pointing to it.
"It's not a baby; it's sear-eee-all." I say it slowly this time, like that's going to make her stop being stubborn. Kind of like people talk really slowly to foreigners, like speaking in slo-mo is the key to learning a new language in 15 seconds or less. Yeah, I'm dumb.
"BABY!!!!!" This time, she pounds her hand on the table, so I know she's serious.
"Fine. Eat the baby already."
See? With the context, it makes sense. And it didn't involve a spaceship or Richard Simmons. I'm so proud of myself.