Me…ow, naturally.

In my family, we employ a strange conversational device that is unfamiliar — and, I imagine, frequently intolerable — to those in the outside world. That is: we lack the ability to perceive the concept of the “rhetorical question.”

As follows is a typical conversation between my brother and me that has been occurring since junior high:

Dan: Hey, guess who I saw today.

Adam: Who?

Dan: No, guess.

Cut to an hour later.

Adam: Okay, is it someone we went to camp with?

Dan: Yes, but not the camp you’re thinking about.

Adam: Are they closer to your age than they are to mine?

Dan: Yes, but only in a leap year.

Adam: Have they ever been in our house?

Dan: Yes, but you weren’t there when they were, and furthermore…hey, where did all of our friends go?

And so it came to be that this trend has continued into our professional lives.

Dan: Hello?Adam: There is NOTHING more terrifying than a half-finished CGI cat.Dan: What if it’s a fully-finished CGI Jesus lion? To date, that remains the scariest thing I’ve ever seen.Adam: This half-finished, furless CGI cat talks like Bill Murray. Tell that to your Jesus lion.Dan: I can’t tell if that makes it more or less scary.Adam: Trust me. Pretend it’s talking about lasagna.Dan: I picture one thing going wrong with the computer program and the Garfield tail is all made of ones and zeros.Adam: And, okay. Guess what the full title of Garfield 2 is?Dan: What?Adam: No, guess.Dan: Garfield 2: Cat-A-Tonic?Adam: Not correct. Let me know when you want hints.Dan: Garfield 2: Not Quite Nermal?Adam: No.Dan: Garfield 2: Odie-ous?Adam: Try and remember that Nermal and Odie don’t have the brand recognition you might expect.Dan: I do, sadly, know quite a bit more about the Garfield comics franchise than most. Though I’m proud to report I never saw the first movie. Is it Garfield 2: The Only Thing You’ll Hate More Is Mondays?Adam: You’re stalling and that’s a cry for help. Do you need a hint?Dan: I do.Adam: Think literary.Dan: LITERARY?Adam: Uh-huh.Dan: For the second film about a CGI fat cat voiced by Bill Murray, why wouldn’t I have thought to dip a toe in the literary canon?Adam: I’m just saying.Dan: Wait!Adam: Yes?Dan: Is it Garfield 2: The Sound and the Furry?Adam: I’m sorry to say that it’s not.Dan: But that’s effing awesome.Adam: But not right.Dan: What about Garfield 2: The Great Catsby?Adam: Holy Jesus lion.Dan: Am I in the right time period?Adam: No. Think earlier.Dan: Earlier. American?Adam: Brit. It’s FAR less clever than you think.Dan: Is it Garfield 2: The Importance of Being Purrrrrr-nest?Adam: No.Dan: Please kill me, particularly for the crime of really thinking that one was going to be right.Adam: Earlier still.Dan: Is it, like, Jane Austen early?Adam: I don’t know. Why don’t you try to GUESS?Dan: It IS, isn’t it?Adam: You tell me.Dan: Don’t you respect, at least, that I could have looked this up 100 times already, but I REALLY want to guess?Adam: I really, really do.Dan: But it’s a cat pun?Adam: Yes.Dan: Jane Austen cat pun?Adam: It is a cat pun that does not involve the word “pussy.”Dan: Because an R rating would kind of kill the box office. As if a CGI matrix cat wouldn’t.Adam: Though I shudder at the porn spinoff titles which would undoubtedly also include the CGI cat.Dan: Don’t make me start talking about that when I haven’t even gotten the original one yet.Adam: I needed to add some obstacles. You were getting too close.Dan: You’re not telling me that it IS Jane Austen, but you’re not telling me that it’s not.Adam: I need you to guess at least one Austen-related title before I give that away.Dan: Because Emma doesn’t exactly give itself over to feline-oriented punning.Adam: You make a good point.Dan: Okay. Mansfield Bark . Meh. I guess that’s the one for Beethoven 5.Adam: Or probably Beethoven 6, because Beethoven’s Fifth is way too tempting.Dan: Is it a female author?Adam: No.Dan: Now we’re getting somewhere. Male. British. 19th century?Adam: Yes. Wait, yes?Dan: As long as it’s not Shakespeare.Adam: That it is not.Dan: Good. You get to keep your diploma.Adam: Garfield 2: As You Like Milk.Dan: Snerk.Adam: Garfield 2: As You Hate Mondays.Dan: Ha! If only that were the play with the generations old fight between the Montagues and the CAT-ulets.Adam: Dude.Dan: Did I read this book in high school?Adam: Yes!Dan: Holy shit, it’s Dickens, isn’t it?Adam: …Dan: I know it! It’s Garfield 2: A Tail of Two Cities.Adam: Right book, wrong pun.Dan: WHAT?Adam: I’m not going to help.Dan: Garfield 2: A Tale of Nine Lives?Adam: You were closer early on. Go back to Punland.Dan: Oh.Adam: Yes?Dan: Oh, dear.Adam: This means you know it.Dan: A tale of two kitties.Adam: GARFIELD 2: A TALE OF TWO KITTIES.Dan: Ours were a lot better.Adam: In which our favorite feline plays the role of Sydney Carton, trading lives so that Charles Darnay might live.Dan: Madame Defarge hates Mondays.Adam: But she looooooooooves lasagna.Dan: I have to go away now.Adam: Let us never speak of this again.Dan: What day is it?Adam: Wednesday.Dan: Then I hate Wednesdays.

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