HFS – High Fructose Storytelling. Unintentionally Featuring Phillip Seymour Hoffman

HFS – High Fructose Storytelling. Unintentionally Featuring Phillip Seymour Hoffman

Writers' pick-me-up? I go running for the shelter of my Daddy's Little Helper.

When I needed a writers’ pick-me-up, I used to go running for the shelter of my Daddy’s Little Helper.

Sometimes, when you call a company and get their phone tree they robotically advise: “Please listen carefully as some of our options have changed.” OK, but that would assume I had memorized the original options. I didn’t. No one has – ever. I’m going to listen to the options because it’s the only way I can get to the Land of Oz. Or in this case ensure my electricity isn’t turned off.  ~ Passage written while under the influence of HFS.

The recently discovered field of High Fructose Storytelling (HFS) has astonished both farmers and writers alike. That this field was just lazily residing in my backyard is even more astonishing. But there it was, just out standing in its field. And that’s where I was – just out standing in my field, when I discovered it. Let me explain.

It all began when I was born. Some events occurred (puberty, college, the sphincter incident), then we fast forward to the spring of 2012 when I dismissively tossed out into my backyard the metaphoric seeds of an idea I didn’t think worthy of developing. Unbeknownst to me (maybe it was beknownst. I’m not sure anymore) these seeds took root and somehow grew into a tornadic Hardimania, unleashing a tsunami of tsunshine, briefly tsurpassing tsex in its universal appeal while causing me to unnecessarily extend ponderously introductory sentences like this one deeply into the page and well after it’s still cool to do so. Such are the complex carbowordrates of HFS.


I’m Not Crazy. I’m Just a Little Unwell.     


PSH as the writer Truman Capote. 'Nuff said.

PSH as the writer Truman Capote. I scream for ice cream.

In perusing my backyard I’d noticed this unassuming stand of stalks located in a small depression where I usually poured my unresolved heartache. This was the same spot where I had earlier cast out the metaphoric seeds of my mediocre idea. The confluence of these two forces – one psychological, the other metaphoric – somehow germinated a strange and wonderful sprout. Strange in the same way  -2 X -2 = +4  and wonderful in the sense of Phillip Seymour Hoffman walking towards me with not one, but two quarts of vanilla Haagen-Dazs ice cream.

As the days passed the stalks grew robustly till they were knee high by the 4th of July. Curious to see them fully mature, I cultivated them with the same loving care a scrimshaw artist lavishes on base ivory in conveying the story of a perilous whaling expedition (sorta). I thought these peculiar plants might bear some kind of exotic fruit. Perhaps breadfruit. And who wouldn’t want a nice slice of breadfruit and butter? Neither Mutiny on the Bounty nor anything else could prepare me for the literary harvest I’d soon reap.

By Labor Day these verbose corn-like plants were ripe. I noticed when I picked an ear and pulled back the surrounding leaves, the kernels displayed little organized words? For example one ear revealed, “Ahoy mate! You can sell me for a buck an ear.” Awww shucks I thought as I shucked the next ear which displayed, “Tis the fortunate man, whom, when he dies, is buried between his wife’s legs.” Corny as it may sound, these kernels of wisdom left me grinning from ear to ear.

It was easy pickin’s. All I had to do was shuck the ears to reveal the messages displayed on the individual kernels. By now I was self-medicating with the plant regularly and the chatty kernels suffused my stories with extra-territorial literary conquests. There was no Monroe Doctrine where I was writing. My imperialist ramblings knew no bounds. There wasn’t even an editor to make sure know missteaks happpennned. Born free! Whenever I wrote something, I could access vibrations and colors I’d never known. All I had to do was eat the plant, digest the message and write the story. My shaman foretold it all when he said, “Oooh, that verbal voodoo that you do.” Tell me I’m not the only one who has a shaman?

Now all you have to do to find out the rest of the story is to read it. I have to actually write it. I haven’t written it yet. I’m only this far. But I’m game. Here goes. You should read this story though. First of all you’ve already read this far and secondly, it’s 20 fewer minutes you’ll have to spend buying a 500 count bottle of Advil at Costco or downloading that stupid “Pull My Finger” app. So get with it reader. Why resist HFS’s charms and exist only in opposition to it? Why so many questions? This isn’t an inquisition. Is it?

Knee Deep in Prolixity

As Blake said: “To see the World in a grain of Sand.” Similarly to view the world through HFS represents a focus sure to provide you with a heightened sense of elevation or at least an elevated sense of heights. HFS emerged as an easily digestible strong-linked chain of superficially satisfying carbowordrates of turbosyllabic monochatter produced by yours truly in his test kitchen. Sometimes I sprinkle these stories with cheesy phrases or lard them with oleaginous flavorizers. Either way it’s a delectable farrago of verbosity all served on a platitude of superlatives with a side of flippancy, garnished with sincerity, drizzled with good intentions yet dripping with sarcasm. Now this isn’t me talking – it’s these damn plants from the backyard. And you thought Veganism was harmless. They inflate everything I do with a sense of blue collar grandiosity. I’m hooked on HFS in much the same way someone might be ♫ Stuck on Band-aids, cuz Band-aids stuck on me ♪.

This filling yet intellectually vapid stew of transitory ideas contains more empty phrases than the liability limits printed on the back of valet parking stubs. But like watching adorable cat videos or having 3 unread text messages, HFS gives people the deep sense of release they so desire. HFS is not viral. It’s beyond viral. That piffling moniker is better applied to Beiber’s wistful offerings or Psy’s Gangnam-style triflings. HFS has become “an incurable pandemic whose infectious pentameter is now wholly inseparable from everyday life” (Jay-Z’s words, not mine). No facet of the human experience is untouched by HFS’s relentless appeal.  And to think this high fructose field was located in my backyard the whole time just patiently languishing, mere feet from my Gingko Biloba tree. At least I think it was a Gingko Biloba tree – I can never quite remember the name of that tree.

Unintended Consequences

The story of HFS has been well told and can be easily streamed on Urine.com. HFS has taken America by storm and South Carolina by Strom und Germany by Sturm. Hardiman’s HFS has now replaced Gideon’s Bible in the nightstand of hotels ensuring something in the nightstand besides the escort service ads will now be read. HFS has eclipsed fads like Facebook and breakfast. It renders all other forms of distraction and entertainment obsolete. For example, Jenga sales are down 93%. And since the advent of HFS, Hasbro has announced they will stop manufacturing Etch-a-Sketches, which is really troubling because they don’t even make Etch-a-Sketches – the Ohio Art Company does.



PSH after Picasso's painting morphs. You should've seen the other guy!

An altered Picasso painting after the paint decided to morph.  


I don’t like going down this road of matrix collision. It tends to corrupt both the Newtonian and Einsteinian universes and the next thing you know, paint becomes self-aware and gets to thinking, “What is this? I’m supposed to just sit here and cling to everything I’m applied to? For the rest of my existence? Just sit here all dried out and cling perfectly naked while everybody else just looks at me? You call this a life? This is as exciting as…well…as watching me dry.” And in no time painted things band together and begin sloughing off walls and cars leaving pools of burnt umber and raw sienna on baseboards and driveways. If paint refused to cooperate, we’d be awash in runny colorful pigments. DaVinci’s dependably static Mona Lisa would start to look like Hillary Clinton and Picasso’s abstract cubist renderings would rearrange themselves into something resembling Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  

What it is, is…

HFS is simply the story resulting from consuming and digesting the plant, and then writing something while compromised by its psychotropic powers. This Pandora’s Box of literary madness is similar to the words on the desiccant packets found in the pockets of finer clothing – but funnier. A lot funnier; plus unlike those do-nothing desiccant packets, you can actually consume my stories. Try consuming one of those desiccant packs (as I did once during an awful cold). Not only did my sinuses dry up, but I couldn’t spit for a week. HFS is like the refrigerator door where you can select Ice, Crushed Ice or Waffles. And if I have to explain it any more than that, well then, you’re never going to really know the difference between a radial tire and a bias ply tire. Fine. Be that way. Maybe it’s your destiny to be a poor radial tire understanderer. But not me. I believe in the second amendment. You don’t want to know about resistant angularity and sidewall flex, then I’m not going to tell you. Just know one thing mortal – When a guaranteed Amtrak train connection is missed, Amtrak will provide passenger with alternate transportation on Amtrak, another carrier, or provide overnight hotel accommodations, at Amtrak’s sole discretion, but only when such circumstances resulted from the actions of Amtrak and this shall constitute Amtrak’s sole liability and passenger’s sole and exclusive remedy. Are we clear? Good.


These plants are mine and I tire of people coming to my door and asking, “Hey man, could you lend me an ear.” Not gonna happen. 


PSH. He's everywhere I want to be.

PSH. He’s everywhere I want to be.

As I began writing stories under the influence of HFS, they hewed to a predictable paradigm. They would’ve hewed to a predictable pair of nickels if I wanted to do this on the cheap. It was as if I was writing these stories in some kind of other worldly corn maize – a highly self-contained hyperliterary world of sly double entendres. Double entendres is French for two intents, but for me it’s just too intense and for campers it’s just two in tents. A fitting example of a double entendre is: When baking cookies be sure to include your children. Under the influence of HFS I was in a twilight zone of writing neither healthily nor nutritiously. Call it no soul prose. This well describes High Fructose anything – just an appealing voluptuous thing devoid of any redeeming substance. This is not to be confused with a voluptuous person possessing both great beauty and intellectual heft like Michelle Obama or Phillip Seymour Hoffman.  Writing under the influence of HFS was like writing in a sugary Hall of Mirrors – all I could see was sweet, sweet me. Truth be told this really wasn’t that different from my pre-HFS experience.

Start Your Engines

The genesis of HFS starts, as you might expect, at the beginning – so boring. Why must everything start at the beginning – painfully predictable. Mr. & Mrs. Joe Linear meet Mr. & Mrs. Expectation. And once you two have met, have a lovely time in your predictable Newtonian universe with its Drive-Thru pharmacies and pop-up toasters. I prefer viewing the story of HFS through the prism of Einstein’s warped universe with its elegant mass-energy equivalencies and inexplicable golden hearts. A place where God does not play dice with the universe, although he occasionally visits that incredible buffet at Caesar’s. The crab alone there is worth the price. They gotta be losing money on that thing. I think they just use that buffet to draw people into the casino. I mean God can resist gambling, but for the rest of us Muggles it’s tough. Anyway, HFS was always different. It challenged both the laws of physics and of decency. You should see the story I decided to withhold. It was written from the perspective of a grain of sand at a nudist beach. Talk about seeing the World in a grain of Sand. It would melt your contacts.


I picked one ear and found some nourishing kernels of wisdom, which I ate with an old friend. And, after dining on them (the kernels and not the friend) there later emerged the following HFStory: 

This skinny guy comes into my restaurant and orders a vagant from my counter girl Missy.  She gives me the order: “One vagant on a raft, wreck’em.” But after seeing the way his clothes just hang on him I say, “I don’t think that will be enough for him Missy. I’m going to give him an extra vagant.”  And then Missy says, “Don’t you think that’s a little extravagant?” And I say, “Exactly. That’s why I’m giving him an extra vagant. To be extravagant.” And so she says, “Will you please be have.” And I say, “Did you mean ‘behave’?” And she says, “Don’t be so extra vagant.” Then I say, “Oh bother. Things haven’t been the same since Clarence Birdseye died.” To which she replied, “Am I to understand things were the same before the frozen food pioneer died in 1956?”  So I say, “Yeah they were. FDR was always President. Joe Louis was always champ. The United States always won its wars. Commies were everywhere and no one trimmed their pubic hair. You dig crazy chick?” And then I snapped my fingers like Brubeck and with that dazzling refutation of Missy I shut her pie hole for good. Well that and the fact that in my story I can make things up and state them as actual events. Just like FOX News does.


After several psychedelic HFS “story trips” I soon tired of its inauthenticity and longed for the nourishing connectivity of my organic literary self. It wasn’t an easy transition. I’ll have you know, I was transitioning without the aid of my high school transcript. All opportunities were blocked for want of my permanent record. I was an HFS addict and I didn’t even know how to approach ending my addiction. I needed help. Maybe a lo fructose methadone clinic or a bit part in Nurse Jackie. My natural thought process had atrophied and had become honeycombed by constantly eating the pernicious kernels I craved. The treacly toxins accumulated in my brain and caused phantom inspiration where my former originality used to reside.

As the walls closed in I began to wonder; is Jim Carrey’s career really over? If Indians don’t have a word for “ugly,” how do they describe Rush Limbaugh? And finally, if I were to become, in Paul McCartney’s words, “half the man I used to be,” at least I’d still be 3’ 2”. To release the scourge of HFS addiction I’d need a Support Group. Maybe a Twelve Syllable Program or perhaps have my nipples fitted with contact lenses so I could see the world as Dolly Parton does. Now I was all about action. And yeah, maybe I’d fail, but at least I could hold up my end of the conversation when it came to a discussion of radial vs. bias ply tires. After reveling in the glow of being a good radial tire understanderer, the answer came gently to me.  

The Remedy

I would rid myself of the deliriously giddy, yet ultimately debilitating strictures of HFS and return to my more original self by producing stories based on natural cane sugar or NCS. This powerful organic substance (found in places where slavery still exists) could make even a schizophrenic get back together. In fact, through a process I don’t care to delve into right now pending litigation, I recently procured some. And I have now taken it in the hope it will unbound me from my addiction and infuse my writing with more organically sustainable passages. It’s kicking in. Oh boy is it kicking in, and now I’m free from the plasticized pharmacological tropism of HFS. Free to now share some realizations generated while in my unplugged state:

1.    The only time people listen to classical music these days is when they’re on hold

2.    So what if JK Rowling is a Muggle. She still produced magic in her books.

3.    Death is only fatal to the body

4.    Without the appetizing picture on the box, no one would ever eat a Freezer Queen Turkey and Giblets Dinner. This also holds true for Kim Kardashian.

5.    Pediatricians agree. “New Baby Smell” lasts only about 15 months.

6.    Similarly, there is no such thing as “New Bus Depot Smell”

7.    A gifted cosmetic surgeon augmented his patient with altitude sensitive breast implants. At 40,000 feet it was like an airbag had gone off. Boy was that guy pissed.

8.    Life is full of wonderment. Like in Season 3, when the Brady’s went to Hawaii.

9.    Shakespeare: Brevity is the soul of wit. Dorothy Parker Corollary: Brevity is the soul of lingerie.

10.  That’s unconscionable. How could they do such a thing?  They wouldn’t even do that on the Planet of the Apes. In fact, it’s Beneath the Planet of the Apes.


I have a healthy, socially responsible regard for PSH. Yeah..that's it. Sure. That's what we'll tell them when the come asking. And they will come...

I have a healthy, socially responsible regard for PSH. Yeah..that’s it. Sure. That’s what I’ll tell them when they come asking. And they will come…

Well I must be going now. I’m cured of the scourge of HFS, but I also discovered I’ve only got months to live. Probably 500 months, but it’s limited nonetheless. I don’t feel the pressure now, but as the months slip away I’ll change my tune. I do hope, when the time comes, I’ll feel grace under pressure and I’ll experience the soothing pangs of connectivity where my ego used to be.



Till then, do take care. And if you see Oscar winning actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, tell him it’s a healthy obsession. Looks like I’m replacing one addiction with another. It could be worse though. I could’ve become fixated on Steve Buscemi. 




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