Faking your way the Nostradamus way, presents

by Dronon

Okay, so you want to become a monk, because - let's face it - it's a great way to make money. But how? Easy! You go to the monastery and tell the abbot, "Hey, I want to write a book on rocks and their relationship to the Divine." Next thing you know, you've been given some nifty robes, free food, a place to sleep, as many candles as you want, and all you have to do is mumble in church a couple of times a day. But you've still got to write the book, right? Wrong! Here are some helpful handwriting tips for pulling it off, and making your way into the world of fame and riches.

Have a large pile of books. Put them on your desk ("for reference material") and look really studious. Don't read the books - do what everyone else does: copy the books, word for word, mistakes and everything! Lean really close to the pages so no one can tell what you're doing.

Use the letter "I" as often as possible. It is the most important letter in the alphabet. All other "letters" are merely cheap imitators that you get from bending the ends. By writing a whole bunch of them in a row (IIIIIIII), you make your book a lot bigger.

Be incomprehensible. Write really, really small; using a pen with a wide tip. Add notes in the margins in even tinier handwriting. Make it impossible to tell where words and letters begin and end. Take, for example, the following text:

What the heck does this say? qinrcpclliusilliuo? qiiiicpciiiasiiiuo? If anyone asks, just say that it means God. Remember, it's a religious text. If the abbot wants you to elaborate, just tell him that God is great, can be seen in everything, and is all you can think about.

Write in Latin. This will make even less people able to understand what you're writing, and makes you look a lot smarter than them.
(Hint: Deus is Latin for God.)

Draw lots of pictures and meaningless squiggly lines. Start paragraphs off with one HUGE letter that fills up a quarter of the page. Devote whole pages to one entire picture. And remember, get as much gold leaf as you can! To make your artwork look really scholarly, draw everyone the same: really thin and sickly, with necks and wrists bent so that they look broken. Oh yeah, and draw circles around people's heads if they're the good guys.

Use red ink every once in a while, for a couple of words, for no discernable reason.

Have a really long fancy title for the book when you're done, preferably in Latin. Write the title in capital letters. It must be the most legible thing in the whole book because it's the only part that anyone will bother reading. Like, DIVINIVS ROCKII AND HOLIIIII THOVGHTVS (DEUS) BY ALEXANDRO FRANCISCVS BEMINI BARTOLOMEO XERXES OF HAVERSHAM. Remember to make your name longer than the title itself!

Keep these tips in mind, and soon you'll be able to start your own monastery. Don't forget to read next week's column: Faking your way through vineyards and wine-making.

Calligraphy Exercise
Translate the following monastic gargling song:


d e marglerr parfiit ic feriiife
e ler reri(mumble) ar iirer func
(squiggle) u God vir pe heiii li God