Craig Conley, Abcedarian, Eccentric Scholar, author of the notably scholarly, clearly eccentric articles Play it forward, and Proficiency Levels of Humor, compiler of One Letter Words, a Dictionary, has recently created yet one more testimony to the love of literature, the delight of inventiveness, and the sheer joy of witticism – a book called Machinarium Verbosus: A Curiosity Cabinet of Gadgets To Transform Any Book & Reader, To Be Sure. With this, he reminds us of yet another kind of fun, a kind of fun that, sadly, is known to fewer and fewer of us.
Scholar Conley opines:
“The Dictionary Game (see also Fictionary) turns a serious reference book into a gaming generator; the dictionary is playfully transformed from a tool for decoding puzzling words into a puzzle-making machine, where whimsically fake definitions take the stage. But could *any* book, spontaneously pulled off the shelf, be transformed into a playfulness machine? Could one’s entire home library be a gaming center? That’s the lofty goal of a new publication that offers, among other oddities, cut-out paper spectacles for seeing more than is readily apparent in any book.”
“Scholarly fun” seems to be a good name for it. Esoteric fun, like that of poets and etymologists and students of the arcane. The fun of playing with the obscure, the esoteric, the knowledge shared by the well-read few. A kind of fun that, in playing with all but forgotten lore, keeps it alive for those of us who some day may care.
In the mean time, do take a moment to explore the anatomy of the bookworm, courtesy of Mr. Conley, and the spirit of deep whimsy.