Every year around Christmas, Scott posts pictures of chocolates from his advent calendar and asks people to guess what they are looking at. The trick is that he only shows you the back of the chocolate. Wait, it gets more whimsical. Because one year Scott discovered that most advent calendars reuse the same shapes, he decided to make his own Advent Calendar. And then he wrote a piece about the experience. He also writes a recurring series called “Dr. Manners,” so he’s basically the closest thing The Prompt has to Martha Stewart.
Consider that his debut piece for The Prompt was titled: “Babies are Bad. Parents are Worse.” I have three children. I love my kids more than anything. But, he’s not exactly wrong. A more recent piece in that same DNGAF vein: Delete the Internet. Again—not wrong.
Scott recently wrote about The Hairy Ball Theorem—a theorem in mathematics that has nothing to do with actual gonads. Said piece was clear, concise, and engaging. It had pictures. It gave real world consequences. It was very, very well done. It’s really hard to write a clear, concise and engaging piece about math—trust me, I’ve tried. Go read his masterpiece so you can say you understand something from the obscure field of topology1 and possibly increase your IQ by a couple points.
Even in the copiously clever crowd2 we have here at The Prompt, Scott’s cleverness stands out. Consider that he once wrote a piece about the morality of punching Nazis in the face that by making severally carefully selects edits to a Time Magazine opinion on the morality of Adrian Peterson spanking his kids. Behold the following sample of this masterwork:
A child Nazi should always receive a clear warning before any offense that might merit a spanking punch to the face and understand why they are receiving this disciplinary action. If he or she deliberately disobeys, the child Nazi should be informed of the upcoming spanking face-punching and escorted to a private area. The spanking face-punching should be lovingly administered in a clear and consistent manner. Afterward, the lesson should be gently reiterated so that the child Nazi understands and learns from this teachable experience.
Scott once put together this amazing infographic for our Self Portrait prompt. Anytime I get bored by the format of my pieces, I’m reminded that I have the power to make my pieces prettier, just like Scott did. I just choose not to exercise that power because that’s my god-given right as an American.
For his 2018 Year In Review, Scott decided to rewrite the lyrics of “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” I mean, who hasn’t indulged in rewriting the words to a pop song or two? My daughter’s entire elementary school once learned this [insert adjective here] remake of “Rolling In the Deep” that taught them the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (“YOU CAN HAVE IT AAAAAA-AAAAAA-LLLLLLL, WITH THE SEVEN HAAAAAA-AAAA-AAABITS”). But Scott did some next level shit. The opening line is pure graphite fire3:
ISTJ indicates a person who is energized by time spent alone (Introverted), who focuses on facts and details rather than ideas and concepts (Sensing), who makes decisions based on logic and reason (Thinking) and who prefers to be planned and organized rather than spontaneous and flexible (Judging). ISTJs are sometimes referred to as Inspector personalities because of their focus on details and interest in doing things correctly.
Scott knows who he is. And he makes sure you, the reader, do too.
Scott writes a recurring series for The Prompt called The Nihilist Cookbook. If I need to explain why this is something you should be reading, just stop here and let’s quit while we are ahead, shall we?
Again, this one just speaks for itself.
Footnotes are like the “see me after class if you have more questions” of articles. A chance for the author to speak to the reader who wants more. I was too shy to stick around after class in school to ask the teachers more questions. But in the safety of my own digital enclosure? TELL. ME. MORE.
When we first got tasked with writing something about (or with) another Prompt writer, my first inclination was to team up with Scott to write something about math or physics—as these are topics that interest us both. I wanted to double-down on our shared nerdery. Scott, to his credit, wondered if what our readers really wanted was more “hot takes” on esoteric mathematical topics. That’s why Scott has written exactly 1 piece on a purely mathematical topic (see Hairy Ball Theorem above), and I’ve written many, many more. Because he cares about what his readers want, and I mostly care about what I want. (Which is how we all ended up with a 2,000+ word piece on something called “The Monster Group” that I’m pretty sure only 2 people ever actually finished—and one of them was the editor who had no choice).
1 Note, it’s topology, not topography, though the two are often confused. The latter is about the shape and features of land surfaces. The other is one of the main branches of modern mathematics.
2 Based on this poor use of alliteration, I would have to put myself in the bottom half of lyrical creativity among this crew.
3 Anyone watching Chernobyl right now on HBO knows that graphite fires are waaaaay, waaaaay hotter than normal fires.