**spoiler alert** Holy fuck. This book will make you want to wash your hands... a lot. Also, you may feel compelled to go out and purchase your own HA**spoiler alert** Holy fuck. This book will make you want to wash your hands... a lot. Also, you may feel compelled to go out and purchase your own HAZMAT suit. Try not to read this book before bed. It may cause some unsettling dreams. Like... dreams about your internal organs liquifying and bleeding out of your eyeballs. I don't know, I found that kind of unsettling. This book has singlehandedly accomplished my vow to never visit Africa. Mostly because Africa is a giant continent filled with monkey pox and malarial insects. Does that make me a big namby pamby puddin head? That's okay. I'm comfortable with that. I'm fine with staying places on the globe where I'm less likely to scrape my hand on bat guano and die a horrible, convulsive, putrifying death 36 hours later. I'm funny that way.
Also, in combination with the book 'The Coming Plague' by Laurie Garrett, with reading this I became convinced that our destruction as a species will come not at the tragedy of nuclear annihilation, which I had feared my entire conscious life... but instead through tiny, virulent microorganisms which will become eternally mutating flesh-eating death machines, ripping through our communities until there's nothing left but rotting jelly. I have felt much more relaxed about life since then.
another hit out of the park by David Sedaris. The entire last portion of the book is my favorite part. He decides to quit smoking and comes up with thanother hit out of the park by David Sedaris. The entire last portion of the book is my favorite part. He decides to quit smoking and comes up with the genius idea of going to Tokyo as a change of scenery to make it easier. Hilarity ensues (of course).
This book kept me from going off my nut while flying to Medford. Thank you David Sedaris. Another jolt of sanity. I heart you muchly....more
My dad turned me onto Pogo years and years ago. One evening laying around his front room (which I am told is no longer called a parlor because of theMy dad turned me onto Pogo years and years ago. One evening laying around his front room (which I am told is no longer called a parlor because of the Influenza epidemic of 1919), I spied (with my little eye) the spine of this Pogo book on his shelves. An hour later and my sides hurt from the laughing.
"Ah Pogo, the beauty of the forest primeval get me in the heart."
"It gets me in the feet, Porkypine"
(they look out at a forest full of junk and garbage dumped all over)
"It *is* hard walkin' on this stuff"
"Yep, son, we have met the enemy and he is us."
I was brought up a feral, hippy, enviro Nazi, so this appeals to me greatly. When we were kids we used to drive up the 101 to Leggett and camp out in the undeveloped lands of Usal Creek. Now it has been declared part of the Lost Coast and is protected, but in those days it was being encroached upon by Evil Loggers, and the Even More Evil BLM (which when I was 6 years old was difficult to distinguish from BM - short for bowel movement - and therefore ever after all logging companies and government agencies were poppyheads). We would see redwood logs on trucks being shuttled off to the mill and shake our fists at them and shout "Boo!" out the window.
My dad has retired up to the northern California coast now and writes regularly to the editor of the local paper about various, cranky environmental concerns he has. Sometimes he writes spoof letters, such as the one about proposing there be a government program to give occupational therapy to skunks, opossums, and raccoons so they would stop crossing the roads in front of cars and getting squished. He says he doesn't think the editor got his sense of humor on that one, and the piece never appeared in the letters to the editor section. He suspects they have started a file on him, which has been added to the one the FBI has from his days in the Peace and Freedom Party with the Black Panthers et al. The salmon disaster of the Klamath River about killed him I think. It's small comfort that Al Gore has now made being an environmentalist all hip and groovy. Things have degraded much from when Rachel Carson first blew the whistle.
But things like Pogo lighten my heart and remind me to keep laughing regardless. I learned that early from my dear old dad. You gotta take the bitter with the sweet. Now that he looks like the Travelocity gnome the glint of mercurial mischief in his eyes is even funnier.
I was given this book as a joke way back in the 80s by my friend Derek. Derek was the kind of guy that, when most people met him, usually people said,I was given this book as a joke way back in the 80s by my friend Derek. Derek was the kind of guy that, when most people met him, usually people said, "Wow, what an asshole!". But if you could get past his usual abrasive personality and predeliction for scathing reparte, Derek was a great friend; at times very soulful... almost always funny. So he gave this book to me after hearing the story of how, at age 16, I had driven the white 1967 Pontiac Bonneville stationwagon I had been given for Christmas into a vineyard. I did not yet have my drivers license at age 16... and some might argue I was unqualified to be driving. Okay, the fact that I wound up driving into a vineyard is probably a dead giveaway that I was unqualified to be driving. But I was 16 and, you know, I knew everything then. I blame the CocaCola, which rolled off the seat onto the floor, requiring me to lean down to find it. Nevermind that I forgot to keep watching where I was going. I blame the CocaCola.
Anyway... the point is... Derek gave the book to me as a joke. A pointed joke. A jibe at my troubled history, which was a source of constant entertainment to us all. Well, to be fair, we all afforded each other with fairly constant entertainment by our rather ridiculous mishaps. But I may or may not have been the most ridiculous of all.
However, ultimately, I had the last laugh. The book turned out to be quite wonderful when I got around to reading it 10 years later. Having actually learned to drive by then... and mostly having figured out how to keep my eyes on the road... I realized when I read this book that I actually mostly practiced Zen Driving. The way of finding the rhythm of the road. To be in synch with the hum and flow of traffic. The find one's own place in the scheme of things, relaxed and present, ready to respond to what breaks and curls and recedes. Like surfing.
I may need to find another copy of this book and re-read it. I'm fairly certain that it's not terribly Zen to drive around thinking that other people are not driving in the correct rhythm, and that if they would just get it right I could drive the way I should be able to, goddamn it! It also is probably not Zen to shout obscenities to people for not signalling soon enough, changing lanes too slowly, and driving *exactly* at the speed limit in a no-passing zone on a two lane road. Yeah, I'm definitely no Thich Nhat Hahn. In the Buddha Dharma Club they would totally take my saffron robes away and send me out to the hut to meditate on a single kernel of rice for 97 hours with no space heater.
But hey, maybe if everyone else reads this book and drives the Zen Way I will never be bothered by crappy drivers again!! Yeah, that's the ticket. I think that would be very Zen. Right?...more
David Sedaris walks all the way to the edge and dances on it. Defying gravity. I haven't yet read all his work, but my respect for him deepens with eaDavid Sedaris walks all the way to the edge and dances on it. Defying gravity. I haven't yet read all his work, but my respect for him deepens with each essay. Another hit out of the park for "Uncle Faggot". God I just love him....more