Best & Worst

I am 63 and live in Leeds with my wife. After Yorkshire I worked full time in the paper trade for Wiggins Teape, where I had worked every winter since school even when playing. I became branch director but had to stop in the mid-1990s after getting retinitis pigmentosa, which slowly leads to blindness, and became quite ill with depression. I later joined the Yorkshire committee and getting back into cricket helped my health quite a bit but I have had to retire from that too. I am registered blind and need a guide dog. I give time to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and by arranging Chinese banquets, golf days and concerts have raised more than £100,000 for charity.

Geoff Cope in the Times of London

I have the same retinal condition as Geoff Cope. When I am his age I will arrange Chinese banquets and live in Leeds with my wife. I maybe shouldn’t have a Google Alert set up for “Retinitis Pigmentosa.” All this is too confessional and sympathy-fishy for the internet. I should restrict myself to Korean noodle recipes and flash fiction. (Last night in my dream someone served me sub-par Naengmyeon. I’ve contracted Breadstixxxx disease. This means I simultaneously love and hate my job. That is too reductive; Breadstixxx’s feelings are more complicated than that. I’ve changed all the commas to periods in this heinous weepy blog post. It used to be a breathless intentional run-on, and now it’s a muted/clipped/obnoxious livejournal webdiary.) Someday I will need to retire because of my failing eyesight, just like Geoff Cope. I will sightlessly record avant joke-poetry into a little microphone and post it on the Blastoweb or whatever exists at that point. You should come to the Chinese banquets I will arrange in Leeds in 2044 because they are going to be sick. We will have loads of crazy organic English Ales and microbrews, quintuple IPAs, the whole schmear. Kabbalah Moo Shu. Infinite apologies.

Prevaricated Sun Preference

[Ten hours later]

DERRICK: I hate cats, I like dogs

JELLIE: I know

DERRICK: What if I adopted a cat instead

JELLIE: Call me Julie.

JULIE: Your apartment is too small.

[They get married.]

DERRICK: I want a divorce

JULIE: No.

[Julie’s uncle murders Derrick.]

DERRICK’S DANISH COUSIN, JAMIE MEEPENSTONE: Hey

JULIE: Hey meeps

DERRICK: [Licking the salt from the fingers of the bird lord again?]

JULIE: [Nope.] Studying.

DERRICK, I MEAN HIS COUSIN, : thasts cool. wanna watch a TV?

JULIE: Ok, which one

DERRICK [opens trenchcoat to reveal horrible red agitated member]: This one! [Awesome heavy metal soundtrack begins.]

[Supertitles over careering hand-held unmodified home VHS footage of an empty living room, fireplace roaring, maybe some stockings taped to the mantle:

CHAMPAGNE

CHOWDER

CHERRIES

PRAETORIA

PRAETORIA

]

[DERRICK returns] What’s the score [i mean his cousin] laziest instructor?? [delete key gets stuck, a generation of talented hacks and prophets falls under the digital knife. your girlfriend and my girlfriend board a small craft. it embarks from sloate pond at 7 fifteen in the morning. it’s a small pond in golden gate park, dimensions exact, but they manage through a miracle of imagination and physics and literature and crying to break the boundary of the ponds [EDITOR STET MISSING APOSTR., EXTRA S, STET ALL TYPOS,] circumference and they blast forth across the sea in early dusk. If you need a referent for the night sea voyage let’s have it be Homer and not Eggers/Sendak/Jonze, OK?

Homer
Homer
Homer

BETH: That’s fine.

[Fade to pink]

[Fade to black]

[text scrolls across the bottom of the black screen:

If a marginal dipweed dimcracks the buzz

[fade back up, matthew broderick is there]

MATTHEW BRODERICK: Dimweed, it’s a clownfoot, I’ll club ’em

AMBITIOUS WOMAN: I’d love to be involved, in whatever possible way.

MB: OK. I’m sure we could find something.

AW: OK, Great. I’d love to see you eat my BlackBerry.

MB: Very well. [He takes her BlackBerry phone and dunks it into a bowl of beaten eggs, then drops it into a bowl of flour. Dash of salt. And then right into the frying pan.]

ANTHROPOMORPHIZED MFA PROGRAM: I’m sleeping with Harper’s.

MB: Anthropomorphized Harper’s?

aMFAp: Yeah.

RUDY GORNIK: We have to go to Russia tomorrow.

AW: The former Soviet Union?

RG: Yeah.

[dissolve to DERRICK in the same hearthy living room, this time stable camera shot through gauze. High production value. Sexy teenagers, Tight turtlenecks. Loafs of loathing warming off-camera in a megascented kitchen with the sunlight you remember.]

DERRICK: I am ready. A cat. Dander’s fine.

POLYMORPHOUS AMORA: Several sheets to the wind

DERRICK: [To someone] No. [To Sarah] Sarah, putting the pain into paint.

SARAH: In my portrait, do you mean?

DERRICK: No… don’t try to strike terror into my

SARAH: I didn’t mean to strike your terror

DERRICK: It’s not my terror that’s struck. The terror ends up inside of me, but it’s not there before it’s struck

SARAH: That’s why it gets struck

DERRICK: right but it’s not like there’s dormant terror there that gets struck and vibrates into real terror. like a cold gong that gets struck with the mallet of emergency

SARAH: I do think its that way [EDITOR STET MISSING APOSTROPHE]

DERRICK: It’s not like a cold gold gong in my heart that gets struck with the hot fearful emergency of your presence, babe

SARAH: I think it is that way

DERRICK: i’m contradicting myself, I think my heart isn’t empty of terror, and then terror gets imported from somewhere else — it’s more like there’s a cold gong, emblazoned with chinese characters, ideograms I cannot translate, not even Pound could pound the meaning out of

SARAH: Crickey

DERRICK: Shammy. Listen:

SARAH:

DERRICK: it’s dormant and silent and cold and then I see your face and a mallet made from your head stuck on the end of a stick, your face covered in a calfskin bag tied together with leather strikes the cold center of the gong hard and it booms and I am thus filled with terror

SARAH: Terror is a cold mercury liquid that surges? A soundless blind thunderstruck rumbling?

DERRICK: Sure. It’s a bad joke on a good tv show. It’s a fucking recourse, jazzman

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWRjus3end4]

Progressive Rakes

JIM: Do you think it’s a good idea, wearing that phallic bolo tie?

CEE:  I don’t know. I’m a sexual umbrella.

JIM: Okay. Send me an email later.

CEE: Okay. I think I understand.

JIM: Okay. That’s no problem.

CEE: Fine,

JIM: Okay, that sounds good. You got it, you get it

CEE: Yes, I know, Okay, will do

JIM: That’s right, that’s fine. Be safe, et cetera

CEE: Lick my nave, baby, I’m a cathedral of sound [CEE leaves forever, thank god. BEA enters]

JIM: Did you read the Roger Angell piece in the New Yorker?

BEA: We already talked about this. The part where he calls someone a “New Yorker friend.”

JIM: Yes. That killed me. It’s amazing they’re still publishing that sort of nonsense. It’s so far past self-parody at this point…

BEA: And still they persist. I know.

JIM: I guess there’s some sort of internal obligation there to let the self-consciously old old boys publish self-consciously old-boy pieces twice a year or something. I feel like it’s self-perpetuating, but maybe once the people who were friends with “Bill Shawn” are all dead those pieces won’t be published anymore… Even some of the old-boy Salinger stuff I found noxious. I don’t know. They should just ask themselves, at every turn, is there any reason whatsoever for an avg reader to give half a fuck about whatever elite country-club bullshit we’re talking about

BEA: Lilian Ross is exempt from that. I mean, her piece was genuinely interesting, in light of Salinger’s death. I don’t mind her calling him “Bill Shawn.” And the Angell piece, if you edit out all the pip-pip wing-tip garbage, was pretty fascinating

JIM: OK, OK, OK, OK

BEA: I wonder if your reaction to this stuff is so strong because you grew up in the guest-room of a Davos Chalet

JIM: Probably. You look remarkably similar to CEE.

BEA: Nonsense.

[Thirty years later. Two twenty-eight year olds stand before the gates of the university.]

JOMMS: I heard you’re teaching a class on food and sex this semeseter, is that right?

CHAUNA: No, that’s not right. I’m teaching a class, called The Carnality of Cuisine, about the eroticism encoded in the texts of different vegetarian recipes, going back to Brillat-Savarin up through Bittman, Madison, et al

JOMM: Is it—

CHAUNA: Limited enrollment; sorry, Jomms.

Cowardly Inferno

COWARD: More beef? More chocolate?

HERO: Nah. Time to push off.

COWARD: Please stay? For another five minutes? [Palms a piece of chocolate into his face.] For another forty?

HERO: Nah. Gotta go. Stay whatever, kid.

COWARD: Babette is coming home soon–wouldn’t you like to see her?

HERO: [Eyebrows waggle] Uh, yeah, I would. When’s she get here?

COWARD: In an hour. Less. She’s on the Dittobahn, past Eyes Chreaste. She sent me a text.

HERO: [Flexing] Lemme see it.

COWARD: No, I mean, my phone is–

HERO: Are you lying to me?

COWARD: [Soils pants] Yeah, I mean, hey, wait

[They make love]

YOUR HOST, JIMINY CRICKET: Whoops! Looks like the MPAA made a boo-boo! This film is NC-17, not PG-13 as advertised! Sowwwy! [JIMINY CRICKET joins the “orgy”]

BETO G.: Hey, what’s up, bro?! [High-fives a CLOUD IN PANTS]

CLOUD IN PANTS: Yo, dude, Avatar in three Gs!

BETO: Yeahh! Smoke some weed! Three thousand dollars!

AFFABLE MOM: [Laughing good naturedly] Wow, wait, what? This is insane!

COWARD: [Extracts himself from the orgy] Mom, what are you doing here?

AFFABLE MOM: Moms like watching movies too, you know! I have more than one Phish CD in my music library, young man!

COWARD: You’re not going to smoke pot on TV, are you?

AFFABLE MOM: Who do you think pays for your subscription to Cracked magazine, young man?

COWARD: You know I’m really grateful to get Cracked in the mail, mom. But I don’t think you should be here— some of these guys…

AFFABLE MOM: I can take care of myself, Gerald. And don’t forget to do your Italian homework.

COWARD: I dropped Italian, mom. I’m not taking it anymore.

AFFABLE MOM: That’s fine, sweetie. But what are you going to do for your language requirement?

COWARD: Latin. Or maybe French? I’m getting really into poetry, mom!

AFFABLE MOM: Well, I don’t need to remind you of all the wonderful poetry in Italian, Gerry.

COWARD: Really? Like what?

AFFABLE MOM: Dante, anyone? My goodness! [Farting sound]

Clarissa Explains Most of It

Horsey is champing at the bit! He is a professor of Spanglish at Domenicka Girl University of Barbados County, which is a hot little sub-county within Marin, in Northern California. Horsey teaches:

  • poetry
  • indie-rock criticism
  • short story
  • table mannahzzzz
  • peacock
  • shootin’
  • jewish studies
  • ovary sciences
  • a river runs through it (fly fishing)
  • ENGL204: “John Fante and the Beats”
  • Java
  • NATTYSCI003: “VeggieTales from the CryptCyde”
  • Gymn
  • Gyne
  • Avatar Studies
  • CRWRI404: Politically Correct, Pseudoexperimental Erotica (practicum)
  • tabla (indian classical music)

A student walks up to Horsey on one of the campus’s windy paths. “Hey I’m trying to square Marx Freud and Darwin but it’s hard. These thinkers only really make sense to me when I’m having sex with another person. When I’m in the library or in my dorm room trying to write a paper it doesn’t make sense. But, you know, when I’m having sexual intercourse, during the duration of the intercourse it all makes sense. I feel like I get marx darwin and freud.” Horsey winks. “In that order?” The student frowns. “No.”

HORSEY: Well, come by my office hours, we’ll talk about this problem.

STUDENT: Professors are like therapists in this way, non? [She lights a cigarette]

HORSEY: “Oui.” [He does not speak French]

T.R.A.N.S.M.I.S.S.I.O.N.

I.N.T.E.R.R.U.P.T.E.D.

Link to an Interesting Article About Twitter

SHOUTING INTERNET GUY: I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL EVERYONE LEAVES AND IT’S JUST ME IN THE OFFICE BLASTING STREAMING WEIRD INSTRUMENTAL HIP HOP AND MY TINY BOWL OF HONEY ROASTED CASHEWS RUNNETH OVER, WEARING A CRAZY WIG OF PAD THAI THAT FALLS INTO MY EYES, GCHATTING WITH MC PAUL BARMAN, GCHATTING with self-loathing people in New York who are not sad that JD Salinger is dead, who are not sad that Twitter wrongfully terminated a Jewish woman last night, who are not sad that a robotic cat raped a drawing of a mouse in plein air on 32nd St and Harrison in San Francisco that same night; these fuckers are unmoved by the outrageous story of all the caffeine in an unsteeped Earl Grey teabag deciding to GET HIGH USING A GRAVITY BONG, and then go back into the teabag, and then a toddler, only 3 years of old, ordered the tea from his Russian nanny, demanded tea, NANNY FETCH ME TEA, and so the Russian nanny dutifully steeped it, and served it, and the kid died, 86 years later, of natural causes. Nobody  is concerned that I’m not friends with Harmony Korine? That I have Dutch gentials with the brain of a Dane? That I sometimes dip articles from Harper’s into boiled water and watch them steep and then drink the tea while I read the leaves?

I’m glad Jessica Hopper was outraged by the new Vampire Weekend record. I think she’s a smart and funny writer. Martin Amis is, too, but that doesn’t mean JM Coetzee denies his readers the pleasure principle. I’m not fluent in Italian, French, German, or Swiss French. I’ve never brought a Swiss woman to climax. I’ve never denied the pleasure principle to JM Coetzee. He asks, and I tell. Every time. @moodygroovin is the darkest, dankest 140-character assassin on twitter. Every author who’s ever published a novel as a paperback original with FSG or Picador has at one point in print claimed that one needs to be a coffee-drinker in order to be a successful novelist, and each and every one of them is wrong. My fictional female alter ego, Beth Pails, drinks nothing but hot tea in greens and Grays and wrote a novel that Amis and Coetzee agreed could “only have been produced by the Internet and its attendant depravities.” It sold several, several copies. If I were a woman, I would have the body of a woman. Do you remember that time I paraphrased Steve Martin’s line from L.A. Story about how he would spend all day feeling himself up if he were a woman when we (you, the reader, and me, Bethany) were in seventh grade and Mrs. White was scandalized and I got in “pretty big” trouble?

One more paragraph: “I still like hip hop.” Of all your favorite living novelists under the age of 40, which do you think likes hip hop least? This is among the questions I’ll be asking tonight on a panel I’m moderating at the Garricks’ Library, 800 Valencia St, just kidding, 5:15 p.m. Appearing on the panel will be Cameron Stipené, Shellie Coup, and (I’m just kidding, 800 Valencia is the increasingly gourmet bodega on the corner) Lydia Brousserrie. $5 suggested donation. Enter through Rhea’s Deli.

Non-Peachable

Here’s what you do: quit your job and get an ethnicity change–can’t cost that much, right? How much does a sex change cost? Ethnicity change is probably more expensive but not too bad. I want you to be Indian, I think. Or Bangladeshi? I know those aren’t ethnicities. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is for you to move to Montreal and enroll at McGill University, the “Harvard of Canada.” Buy the Feelies’ Good Earth on vinyl.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq4mDJyH8DY]

I need you to major in a humanity. English is best. History is fine. NO SOCIAL SCIENCES. If you’re up to it, you can minor in a hard science. Read the Thoreau of Canada. I don’t know who that would be. Joy Williams is NOT CANADIAN

You’ll enroll as a freshman, even though you’re 31. Send your fiction to the campus literary magazines. Run 7 miles a day and wear corduroy pants. Hold hands with your girlfriend in McGill’s humanity buildings’ excellent hallways. Write an essay about Fassbinder. Eat snow with your girlfriend. Get drunk six or seven times a month. DO NOT ADOPT A DOG.

Do not stay in touch with anyone from your old life. Go camping as often as possible, mayhe more often. Sometimes I want to break up with all of my friends, and I feel that the best way to do this is to quit drinking and become vegan. DO NOT BUY A MOPED

Get an ironic gold tooth. Shave yr head. Publish a zine called Shame Faucet, $1 an issue, lots of drawings, comics, fiction, writing like this. Reviews of reviews of reviews of reviews. Write a poem called “Giardia.” Send it to the New Yorker with the following cover letter:

Dear Paul Muldoon, Poetry Editor of The New Yorker,

Enclosed, please find a copy of my new poem, called “Giardia.” I’m not sending it to you for publication. I’m not hoping you read it. It’s enclosed. Please do not read it. Do not throw it away; do not recycle it. Do not hand it, puzzled, to any of your assistants. Do not mention this letter to your friends or family. Do not subscribe to Vice. I’m just joking around, Paul!

Love,
Guru Nayak
Montreal, QC