Thursday, March 21, 2013

Where Koobish Come From

by Adam Rex

First, a little background: in my novel, The True Meaning of Smekday, there is a kind of alien livestock called the koobish. Here are a couple of them in a photo with one of the story's protagonists, J.Lo:

Their favorite food is chlorine.

I'd like to explain how the koobish came to be, and to do that I first have to tell you about a very bad tattoo I got back in 1991.

I was eighteen, and away at college, and four of us decided on a whim to get tattoos. What, you may be thinking, could possibly go wrong. If memory serves I believe Liza got a Tazmanian Devil. Kim got some sort of dolphin/rainbow/Earth combo. I can't remember what Brad got, but based on these previous choices I'm going to go ahead and guess it was the Chinese character for "stupid."

I had begun writing a bit at this point, and I fancied myself something of a humorist, so I got a jester on my ankle. Like so:

I was not drunk.

I don't think I'm giving away too much at this point in the story if I tell you I no longer have this tattoo, but that sketch above is how it looked to the best of my recollection. Like Bea Arthur. I didn't even draw the original design myself. I picked it off the parlor wall. I was an art student AND I PICKED MY TATTOO OFF THE PARLOR WALL.

Anyway, years passed. I quickly grew to hate the tattoo, but it was on my ankle, and I almost always wear socks, and literally months could pass where I didn't think about it at all. It was so inconspicuous that I dated my wife for a whole summer before she noticed it was there. We managed to pull through and it only made us stronger as a couple.

Eventually I realized that while I would never pay to have it removed, it might be worth one or two hundred bucks to get it covered up with something else. So I designed this little fellow:



Here it is filled in:



And actually on my ankle:


I liked it, and I named it the koobish. And it occurred to me that I'd like it even better if it had some actual significance, so I wrote it into the novel I was working on.

Ta da.

Next year Smekday is going to be a Dreamworks movie.  They're just amping up animation right now; but I've seen the entire movie as a black-and-white animatic, and among the changes the've made to the original story is the omission of any koobishes.  I asked if there was still any chance they might pop up in a background somewhere, and the director wouldn't rule it out.

I'm really hoping they make it in there, and that the koobish becomes the first tattoo to grace a major animated feature since Walt Disney asked for a "pretty lady Donald" on his lower back in 1940. [citation needed]

9 comments:

  1. Wow! I hope the movie will turn out great. I could only imagine myself telling to my friends that (if ever) the koobish actually came from a tattoo of an artist. XD


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  2. You, Adam, are a breath of fresh, well freshish, well anyway air. Thanks for making life funnier.

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  3. This made me chuckle. I've always wanted tattoos, but never have gotten one (yet) because I'm so fickle that I change my mind every 10 minutes about what I like. I think as an artist, I must be very particular about it, ha!

    This story is really cute, and I can't wait to see the film. Just the little glimpse of the characters and the name 'Smekday' makes me think I'm going to love it. Best of luck!

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  4. lol,great post!
    My wife and I love the book and the characters!
    She even calls me Koobish (in front of people) because she thinks it's cute.



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    1. I love hearing stuff like that, Steven.

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  5. What an amazing story. I'm glad you and your wife were able to "pull through" lol. Hope a koobish or two make it in there for you!

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  6. Finding the koobishes was an intriguing discovery in the book. Hope they reconsider, and bring them to the big screen were they belong.
    Thanks for sharing the koobish origin story!

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  7. Something about this makes me think of an Edward Gorey story. It could be called, "The Unfortunate Tattoo".

    Wonderful anecdote!

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