Rejected McSweeney’s Lists

Timothy McSweeney’s Internet Tendency is a literary website founded by Dave Eggers; the pieces are usually humorous or absurd. Since 2006, I’ve tried, in vain, to have my lists accepted by the site. In grad school, we competed against each other to have pieces accepted. (If memory serves, the “winner” was someone who’d had a list published the year before he matriculated.) But I guess it’s not to be. So here are my rejected lists. [Trigger warning: one list is about suicide.]


Nail Polish Color Names I Would Have Suggested Had I been Asked Just After Breaking Up

  • Passive Aggressive Pink
  • I Hate You Indigo
  • Go to Hell Green
  • Raw Emotions Red
  • False Accusations Frosty Fuchsia
  • You Suck Yellow
  • Broken China Blue
  • Leave Now Lime
  • Oh God Why Are You Still Talking? Orange


Things I Often Dream About

  • World War Two
  • World War One
  • My parents’ death
  • My own death
  • Kittens

Things I Have Learned From My Students’ Papers

  • Hitler was the leader of the Socialists
  • Vladimir’s last name was Lennon.
  • There is always someone sick on this planet.
  • They say that 80% of all cancers are preventable, and that the other 20%, with incurable cancers such as Hopeless Astrocytoma, aren’t worth trying to cure.
  • Our minds are at the root of how we interact with the world around us.
  • Color is all around us and is in a way, one of the most prevalent pieces of the world around us.
  • Although this task seems impossible, I think with enough work we can begin to trust our fellow man enough that we won’t feel the need to have a gun to protect ourselves.
  • On the quest for understanding ourselves we must examine color.
  • Color has all sorts of applicable uses within our world.

Reasons I Didn’t Kill Myself

  • Knives were dirty
  • Have trouble swallowing pills
  • Forgot to pay gas bill
  • Electric razor ineffective at cutting hair, let alone anything else
  • Afraid of heights
  • Apartment only has shower stall


Phrases My 1930s Hindi Textbook Thinks I Should Learn

  • We gave him good advice, but he paid no heed.
  • The value of the rice and wheat exported last week amounted to half a million rupees more than the previous week.
  • There is much small game and there are some tigers.
  • In India, people are good to their servants.
  • Bring some wine and water.
  • He is a great favorite in this part of the country.
  • You should always get up at 5 o’clock in the morning.

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