Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Wednesday of My Dreams

Seven or eight years ago, I was sitting at Danny's Pub in Bucktown on the Northwest Side of Chicago (which is where I'm from). Some pals and I had made it a habit to attend the monthly reading series held there, appropriately called "The Danny's Reading Series." (If you want to see how a real reading series is done, check them out. It's so consistently great it's scary.)

We had come to see Jonathan Goldstein, then a producer on This American Life, though in retrospect, maybe we were there to rub shoulders with Ira Glass (we were just that dorky and grasping, but forgive us, we were very young). In any event, I don't recall anything about Jonathan Goldstein. What I do remember is getting a little snookered on Tutz lager (which I loved for the bottle) and talking about the bourgeois sham that is marriage. (I would be remiss not to mention that both of my friends with whom I was overindulging in cheap French beer vowed sooner to die than to marry and that they are now both married.)

I also remember Sam Lipsyte. Holy spit, do I remember Sam Lipsyte. To a drunk 22-year-old with literary pretensions, it seemed as though Jesus had come back as a fat man with a couple books out on small presses. He was so impressive he made me dizzy. Do you remember the first time you heard your favorite song? It was just like that. I got nauseous. I felt like I was in love. This is no exaggeration: I had discernible love-feelings and excitement-based nausea that night, and it wasn't just because of the horrible Tutz.

So he's coming to the Booksmith tomorrow. I requested him as soon as I heard he had a new book coming out. Can I say he's a national treasure? A genius? A star rising to assume his proper place in the firmament? He'd hate being described like that (or at least his characters would).

In case anybody was wondering what I really like to read, it's Sam Lipsyte. I'm really loving my job right about now.

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