I’m just finishing Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. Everyone but me has known since 2000 that it’s a contemporary masterpiece. I’m always late to the party, but I usually show up sooner or later. Have a taste:
“Now get this straight, Wantanabe,” said Midori, pointing at me. “I’m warning you, I’ve got a whole month’s worth of misery crammed inside me and getting ready to blow. So watch what you say to me. Any more of that kind of stuff and I’ll flood this place with tears. Once I get started, I’m good for the whole night. Are you ready for that? I’m an absolute animal when I start crying, it doesn’t matter where I am! I’m not kidding.”
I nodded and kept quiet. Ordering a second whisky and soda, I ate a few pistachios. Somewhere behind the sound of a sloshing shaker and clinking glasses and the scrape of an ice maker, Sarah Vaughn sang an old-fashioned love song.
Shit, man, I’ll never be able write like that. The excerpt probably isn’t that impressive taken out of context but it knocked me on my ass when I read it on the train tonight. I went back over it three times.
I met Murakami once. He made a rare public appearance at a book signing here in New York. He had two cute Japanese assistants with him who each had two wooden chock stamps. When he signed a book, one of the assistants would stamp it. Mine is a picture of two intertwined fish. I asked him if New York frightened him. He and the cute Japanese girls laughed.
I was reading the comment section on someone else’s blog and came across something that really horrified me. The commentator took the blog owner to task for a misplaced apostrophe. Are you kidding me?! Do I need to worry about stuff like that? That’s too much pressure. I barely know where to place a comma. I have no idea what a prepositional phrase is.
Sometimes I reread my old posts or the comments I’ve left on other blogs and they are fraught with mistakes. At least on my blog I can go back and correct the gaffes (which I occasionally do). A comment left somewhere else is forever. If it’s incoherent or improperly punctuated, tough shit. It’s a good thing my laptop comes equipped with spell check or I’d really be in trouble with the grammar police.
Last week I read posts on at least three different blogs that all said, “It’s really slow and I don’t have anything to write about.” If I don’t have anything to write about, I don’t write. Please, please don’t let blogging turn into a goddamn job. I’ve already got a goddamn job and one’s enough. This is for fun, right? Or is this yet another one of my responsibilities that I’m taking too lightly?
Yesterday morning 6-Year Old Daughter said, “Dad, I had a dream that I was in the Disney store with all my friends. You bought me a Tinkerbelle doll that could talk, but only the person who owned her could hear what she was saying. We brought her home and she sprinkled some pixie dust on me and we could both fly.” Isn’t that sweet?
I had a dream yesterday morning, too. I was in the house I grew up in in Cleveland. It was overrun with spiders whose bodies were about as big as your fist. I took a can of insecticide and sprayed it into their eyes. They writhed around in pain. Some of them died and others turned into human zombies. Lots and lots of really angry zombies. They chased me up the wooden stairs to the attic. I only had one can of insecticide and there were so many of them. Mrs. Wife was in the attic and I yelled, “Please help me!” Then I woke up. That was my dream. I wish I made that up.
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I was driving to the supermarket and the local college radio station played the Louis Armstrong classic What A Wonderful World as interpreted by The Ramones. Absolutely heartwarming.
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Again, I am lamenting the end of summer. On Saturday, we went down to Asbury Park. We walked the boardwalk, looked at the ocean and got some ice cream. 6-Year Old Daughter and I played 18 holes of miniature golf. I beat her 42-80. I was merciless. Those summer afternoons are numbered but autumn has its charms. All-day pots of hot coffee. Roast beef and mashed potatoes with gravy. A change of wardrobe. Football. Hut-hut.
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Joe Biden is a brilliant pick for VP. For all the evidence you’ll ever need, please take a minute to read David Brook’s op-ed piece that ran in the Friday New York Times. This was written on the eve of Obama’s announcement. Brooks is a conservative (although not a radical) so the fact that this level-headed argument for Biden comes from the “other camp” counts for plenty.
Do you realize summer is pretty much over? We had such a great season here in NY/NJ. I’m sorry to see it come to an end. Mrs. Wife and The Daughters got a lot of pool and beach time in. I spent many an evening in the city. When the weather is cooperating, there’s no place I’d rather be on a summer night than in Manhattan.
Friday after work I popped down to Chelsea for dinner and a few glasses of Dewar’s. The West Village use to be the epicenter of the gay community in New York but years ago it migrated about 15 blocks north to Chelsea. There’s no doubt about it: gay men keep themselves in tip-top physical condition. I almost wish I had passed through a period of bisexual experimentation when I was younger. I’ve had a rather staid sexual past and it would have made it more robust and given it some depth. Living in the city as long as I did, I had plenty of opportunities but it never appealed to me. If there’s one issue you can’t force, it’s sexual preference. It is what it is. I like girls. Always have. Men? Not so much.
I had a big plate of pad Thai noodles at Regional Thai on 7th Av and 22nd. Delicious. You can’t screw up pad Thai noodles. You just can’t! Later in the evening, R Esq. told me, “That’s what white people order in Thai restaurants.” It was a bit hard to take coming from a pale NYC lawyer who was born in Oregon. I secured a table on the sidewalk so the dinner entertainment was the unending parade of humanity down 7th Avenue. It never gets old.
Met aforementioned R Esq. at Peter McManus, which is a glorious shithole of a bar. He and his lovely bride C Esq. work lawyer hours, which is to say, a hell of a lot. He went over their annual billing cycle and it’s pretty intense. I couldn’t do it. I lack the intellectual wherewithal and, much worse, the drive.
Each morning before work I sit for a spell in Bryant Park. Bryant Park is a beautiful patch of grass located right behind the big library on 42nd St. and 5th Ave. I’ll either read the paper or bang out a blog entry or watch the pretty office drones parade by in their summer dresses. On Fridays, my peace is compromised by the Good Morning America Summer Concert Series with Diane Sawyer (sponsored by Listerine mouthwash). A stage is set up and a different band plays each week. Not long ago by bliss was ruined by Miley Cyrus. This morning it was Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kid Rock.
When I was in Junior High School, a humungous lump of dumb named Greg Schopell use to take my lunch money away from me whenever I couldn’t run fast enough. He was a big Lynyrd Skynyrd fan. He always wore Lynyrd Skynyrd tee-shirts (that smelled) and had a Lynyrd Skynyrd belt buckle that was the size of a sewer lid. Do you know what? FUCK Lynyrd Skynyrd! Their music suuuuucks. It’s repetitive and it fed the violent tendencies of Greg Schopell. But I like Kid Rock. He’s great.
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I am employed by Benevolent Dictators, Inc. It is an asset management firm. They manage pension funds, endowments, foundations and, my favorite, High Net Worth individuals. I recently discovered that there’s a tier above that. They are called Ultra High Net Worth individuals. Can you believe that!? Even if you’re High Net Worth, you’re STILL not the top of the food chain. This gives me a whole new benchmark for my own mediocrity.