Dear Reader (all 7.1 million of you),
I’d like to say it’s great to be back from vacation, but frankly it’s not. A lot of people think the biggest problem with being a pundit is all the blood sacrifice and unlicensed steel-cage shovel fighting. That’s true. But there’s obviously nothing to be done about that. Another problem is that when you usually write several thousand words a week — at least — you build up muscle memory. It’s like exercise — I’m told. When you train yourself to run every day, taking a week off doesn’t make running easier, but harder. Since I’ve been back, I haven’t been able to find my groove (this isn’t it). I had to delete the first 700 words of this “news”letter because it turned into a lengthy poem in Esperanto about chinchillas. Frankly, I nailed the iambic pentameter. Maybe someday I will publish “Kiam la Chinchilla vekas el sia dormado en la pantalono de mia koro” (Loosely: “When the chinchilla awakes from his slumber in the trousers of my heart”), but today is not that day.Your Diary Style Is Good, But Mine Is Better
In order to turn a grind into a groove, I’m going to kick it diarist style. “What is diarist style?” you ask. I’m reminded of a line from a Simpsons episode. Marge is being seduced by Jacques, a French lothario bowling instructor (as if there’s any other kind).
Marge: You didn’t have to drop me off.
Jacques: But I wanted to. [grasps her hand] Marge, do you know how beautiful you look in the moonlight?
Marge: Errrr, Jacques! I’m a married woman!
Jacques: I know, I know. My mind says stop, but my heart, and my hips, cry proceed. . . . Marge darling, I–I want to see you tomorrow. Not at Barney’s Bowlorama, [but] away from the thunderous folly of clattering pins. Meet me tomorrow for brunch.
Marge: What’s brunch?
Jacques: You’d love it. It’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of cantaloupe at the end. You don’t get completely what you would at breakfast, but you get a good meal!
Marge: I don’t think so.
Jacques: Marge, darling. There are ten pins in my heart; you’ve knocked over eight. Won’t you please pick up that spare?
Marge: [hesitantly] Mmmm, mmmmm . . . All right!
Well, diarist style isn’t quite a column and it’s not quite a “news”letter, but you just might get a slice of cantaloupe at the end, if by cantaloupe you mean something that only in the vaguest sense could be compared to a cantaloupe. A loose inspiration for my technique is the old “Diarist” feature in The New Republic of the 1980s; a bunch of unrelated observations very loosely hung together by a topic sentence that masquerades as an unbelievably forced segue. (Oh and if you think I’m old for remembering The New Republic from back then, maybe you’ll turn it down a notch when you realize that that Simpsons episode is 24 years old!)
Use the Force
Speaking of forced segues, they’ve apparently come out with a manual Segway that costs $900 and doesn’t really work on hills. But the financial cost is nothing compared to the convenience of not having to work at celibacy anymore. Show up to a date riding this thing and you’ll never have to worry that there isn’t room for two.