What's up Aiken?
May 28, 2004
Today's post title comes from perhaps the funniest spam subject line ever. I've been getting them all damn week...penis enlargement pill spam with subject lines like, "loser with a small penis" or "could you be any smaller?"
Today's variant: what's up aiken
If that was intentional? Brilliant. If I had a penis, perhaps I would actually read the email. But I don't so I won't. Meh.
Anyway, I'm getting ready to leave on my loooong car drive, just as soon as my dear, sweet, put-upon assistant gets to the office. From a funeral. Her grandmother's funeral.
Yes, I believe of the Top Ten Shittiest Things Your Evil Boss Can Do, guilting you into coming to work after your grandmother's funeral has GOT to rank pretty highly.
(Ok, I exaggerate, she offered. She'd rather be in the office than at a funeral reception all day. So it wasn't my idea. Although I probably shouldn't have jumped at her offer like a kid near a big pile of birthday presents. Yeah.)
So I'm all set for the drive. I've moderated my liquid intake, eaten a lovely and kind-on-the-stomach lunch, and gone to the bookstore for some books-on-tape so I won't get all lonesome. I got David Sedaris, because he's fucking funny, and Garrison Keillor, because I'm fucking old.
No, actually I blame the Garrison Keillor on Chris, who is going to see his radio show tonight, and who got me all nostalgic about reading Lake Wobegon Days for the first time. Before reading that book? I only wrote deep and serious stories. They were shit. All dark and "symbolic" and whatnot. But after reading Keillor, I realized that all my hilarious running commentary that I just never quit with? Could like, be written down, published and declared brilliant by The New York Times. It was a shocking revelation to me.
In fact, so profound was the impact that a couple years later, upon discovering that Mr. Keillor (I call him Gary, but y'all need to learn you some respect) wrote an advice column (coincidence?) for Salon.com and had an actual real life email address, I sent him the only fan letter I have ever written.
(Well, sort of. I did write to New Kids On the Block when I was 11, but that was only to complain of the gratutious use of the word "hell" on a song on the Step By Step album. They never wrote back but I was pursued by solicitations to join the fan club for years afterwards.)
Anyway, Mr. Keillor wrote back, told me "my very kind note" cheered him up immensely, as he was traveling and stuck in a hotel with a very bad cold. He said he enjoyed my writing style and thought my idea of writing a collection of stories about the Metrorail and its passengers sounded like a great idea. Then he said, "Good luck finishing that book."
Still haven't finished it, of course, but I still have the email. Very nice man, that Mr. Keillor. Above average, you might say.