Although arranged like St. Andrews, the course at North Berwick presents a wider variance of hazards, and possibly because of the names of the holes ("Gate," "Perfection," "Pit"), what little I could remember of John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress came suddenly to mind in the elegiac light of a slowly ebbing sunset. I played the round in the company of two other solitary golfers on the hole ahead and the hole behind, three wayfarers set forth on the Scots' equivalent of the road to Canterbury, each of us in turn raising the flag of hope for the fellow pilgrim who maybe had come thus far without having fallen afoul, at least not yet, of Worldly Wiseman or Giant Despair.
By now you're thinking: Hey, this looks easy! I can redraft the Lapham sentence (or two sentences) also! And so you can, with the aid of Slate's Mad Libs, Lewis Lapham Edition. Just fill in the blanks below.
The Bush administration's forbearance as Gen. Pervez Musharraf proclaims, like [vainglorious monarch], that [famous megalomaniacal statement] recasts [open Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire to any random page, close eyes, plunge finger into text, and insert here a précis of incident described therein] as opera bouffe. The sham outrage teases forth memories of the contortions displayed by [famous Ottoman acrobat of the 15th century] or the prevarications of [obscure three-fingered gangster of the 1930s] as the Katie Courics and Wolf Blitzers of their day distracted the starving masses with [celebratory ritual performed by an island-based indigenous people] and competitions to mimic the cry of the mighty [extinct animal from the Cretaceous period].
Readers, this is not a contest. Don't e-mail your Mad Libs to me. Instead, copy them in longhand, preferably with a quill pen, and mail to: Lapham's Quarterly, 33 Irving Place, Eighth Floor, New York, N.Y. 10003. Don't forget to include a stamped, self-addressed envelope.