Today’s Match      |      Previous Matches      |      TOB Brackets [PDF]      |      Judges      |      About      |      Buy the Books from      |      Rooster T-Shirts
The Morning News and Powells Present
2006 Tournament of Books
APRIL 7, 2006
WARNER: In her review, Brigid Hughes states that she’s been thinking a lot about whether unsympathetic characters can be compelling, but honestly, for me, this question seems well settled, as evidenced by the popularity of such diverse characters as Martha Stewart, Tom Sawyer, and that stuck-up bitch, Mother Teresa.

GUILFOILE: And let’s not forget The Lockhorns. As it happens, I am also like one of those survey-takers Brigid mentions. In fact, I spend much of my plentiful free time writing alternate endings to Tess of the D’Urbervilles. In my most recent effort, Tess, owing to her talent for always “picking the wrong guy,” has been forced to choose sides in the secret war between the wolfmen and the vampyres. Ultimately she is lured to a bloody treetop duel with her arch nemesis, the Undead Sister Carrie, but not before Tess allows herself the fleeting pleasure of one night in the embrace of a time-traveling James T. Kirk. The resulting bastard child, however, is rejected by wolfpyre society. Meanwhile, 500 years in the future on the USS Enterprise-D, a poor and little-noticed flight controller named Ensign Tess Allenby discovers by chance that she is a direct descendant of the Star Fleet’s most famous commander…

WARNER: Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about something else lately, namely, why are Americans so greedy about their kidneys? According to the Mayo clinic, on any given day, 60,000 Americans are in need of a kidney. Now, as you well know, we each only need one kidney, but you have two kidneys, Brigid Hughes has two kidneys, and through a genetic mutation, I have seven kidneys.

I propose that we establish a kidney selective service. At the age of 18, every American must register for the kidney lottery. We will be typed and matched and put into a database. When someone needs a kidney, a couple hundred thousand Ping-Pong balls representing each potential match will go into a giant drum and one of them will be pulled and the “winner” will have to give up one of their functioning kidneys to the person who has none.

I know what you’re thinking, that there’re some potential pitfalls here. I have anticipated them and knocked them down more easily than Donald Rumsfeld plows through the objections of compliant, careerist generals.

1. What if I give up a kidney then need a kidney?

You will eligible for the lottery and you will get a new kidney.

2. This sounds like communism to me. God is against that, which is why we invaded Iraq to root out the communist dictator, Saddam Hussein, to protect the American way of life where we get to keep both of our kidneys if we want them.

Actually, it’s more like socialism, which works very well in Sweden and is a philosophy not even tangentially related to the global war on terror.

3. I’m afraid it will be painful, or I might die of complications when I donate my kidney.

If the organ harvesting procedure can be successfully performed in a Las Vegas hotel bathtub filled with ice while the donor is gorked out on rohypnol, I’m sure it’s perfectly safe when performed in hospitals, by surgeons.

The only thing more surprising than the fact that this proposal has yet to be implemented is that plucky underdog, paperback original Home Land continues to make its way toward the Tournament of Books final.