The book chronicles some of the ridiculous–and almost unbelievable– things that have happened to this author in her lifetime. It explains the benefits of working with pothead idiots, provides sage advice on why you should never pet-sit for anyone ever, tells you why having children is about as wise as placing your foot beneath a steam-roller, and gives great reasons why Subway is one of the greatest places to work if you want to be exposed to some pretty god-awful people. Plus, there’s stories in there too…
Surprisingly, there are actually morals to the stories she tells, though they’re definitely odd takeaways that will have you questioning your sanity as you read.
All in all, it’s a great read, and I was lucky enough to interview the quirky author for this blog post. The questions all seem random, but they pertain entirely to not only the book, but the person herself. You’ll see by her answers that she knows how to spin an entertaining yarn:
Me: Where did you get the idea for the crazy title, and why a platypus?
The title was actually an accident. I have the worst time starting things. Once I get going I’m golden, but just trying to begin any task I often get stuck. Back in college I developed a habit of slapping a name and a cruddy intro on my papers just so that I could work on the meat of the work, and then go back later and change it. I titled my book “Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus” as a placeholder title until after I was done and could come back and replace it with something intelligent sounding. Then, I kind of forgot to do that last little bit. My publisher (Sweatshoppe Publications) loved the title, so it just kind of stuck.
There is a platypus in the title because I tend to name things with the strangest animals I can think of. The platypus was the one I had in my brain at that second.
Me: Did all of this stuff actually happen?
Allison:Yes, my stories are true. The only one where I took a few liberties, aside from changing names to protect the innocent, is the final one about being the bridesmaid at a wedding. I have been the bridesmaid at about fifteen different weddings at this juncture. I’m only twelve dresses shy of my own rom-com movie. The stuff I said in that story all happened, it just occurred at a variety of different weddings instead of just one. Otherwise, yes, my stories are true.
Me: What possessed you to write this book?
Allison: If I was feeling cheeky I would say Mephistopheles possessed me to write this book. However, in this case it was mostly my friends, who receive a constant barrage of stories from the crazy things that happen to me on a daily basis, who said, “Write all of this down or we’ll shoot you.” Since most of my friends own firearms, I took them seriously and wrote this book.
Me: Is the term “holy shitstorm” up for grabs? I want to make it the title of my next novel.
Allison: That is actually a term used by one of my good friends Kari, that I used with her permission. I’m sure she’d be willing to haggle with you though for the rights to it.
Me: Tell me about the practical joke with the saran wrap and a doorway. That sounds like a perfect April Fool’s prank.
Allison: First, you need to find a door that opens inwards. Then on the opposite side of the door frame stretch and tape sheets of plastic wrap over the opening. When your victim opens the door, oftentimes they won’t be able to see the saran wrap and will walk directly into the clear, clingy wall.
I perpetrated a ton of pranks in college, only about a quarter of which I got caught for.
Me: Have you ever tried to feed a tiger an apple while wearing a dress made of lamb’s meat?
Allison: No, but I have attempted to feed a camel that thought my entire hand was food.
Me: If the movie Titanic ever was to spawn a religion, as you thought in the fourth grade, what would it be?
Allison: I think it would be called The Church of the Ongoing Heart. It would be the sappiest religion of all.
Me: What would possess cows to rise up and overthrow their two-legged overlords? If there was such an uprising, how long would you wait before selling out mankind?
Allison: I think a cow uprising would probably have to do with either hay shortages or a species wide realization that humans turn them into hamburgers. As for selling out mankind, I wouldn’t. I would go down fighting the bovine invaders.
Me: You mentioned the “Armpit of the Nation”. Where would the “Elbow Crook of the Nation” be?
Allison: My vote is on Cedarville, Ohio. It’s a part of the country no one really notices unless something terrible happens to it.
Me: How the heck did you come up with the name “Smeraldina” for your pet rat?
Allison: I received Smeraldina when I was in college for a class called “Psychology of Learning.” I jokingly told my friend Charissa that I would name my rat after her. After I said this I realized that there were no fewer than four other Charissa/Karissa’s on campus.
I decided that instead of being the creepiest person ever to anyone named Charissa (“Your name is Charissa, that’s the name of pet rat! I’m sure you would like each other… Where are you going?”), I would instead name her after a character my friend played in a recent production of “Servant of Two Masters.” Hence the name Smeraldina.
Me: When you are older, will you buy yourself a motorized scooter and drive down the highway at 3 miles per hour?
Allison: No, I will buy a Harley and ride it through the hallways of the nursing home humming my own theme song to aloud.
Me: Where can one find a guard platypus? I want one for my house.
Allison: If I knew, I would have one. As it sits now, I only have two cats, and they stink at guarding anything that isn’t tuna flavored.
Me: Why did you buy so many Buicks when they were each worse than the last?
Allison: It is the unfortunate fact that I have been poor much of my life. Therefore, when it comes to buying vehicles I normally go for the “least expensive and still runs” option. Where I lived, there were a plethora of cheap Buicks, and so that is what my meager funds afforded me.
Me: One final question: You got any extra dough on ya?
Allison: Nope, sorry. I’m a social worker, they only pay us just enough that we don’t end up qualifying for our own programs and services.
“Life is a Circus Run by a Platypus” can be found at:
Sweatshoppe Publications: http://sweatshoppemedia.com/allisonhawn.html
Allison can be found at:
It’s an absolutely hilarious read, and worth every penny. It’s hard to believe so much has happened to one person, but that’s what makes it so much fun!