Thursday, December 22, 2005

Winter, Failure and McSweeney's Boys

I am not feeling so hot in my mentals today, kids. I am working on some work, but sloooowly, and a feeling of failure has crept into the afternoon. While I sat in the bathroom, thinking about why my hair has to look so bad right now, some words of Philip B. Blended Beauty wisdom came to me:

"Winter has its own version of beauty bleakness." So true.

He goes on to let us begraggled readers know that, "I love baths during the winter. They cloak the body in a sea of warmth and scents."

The scent of desperation, perhaps? Oh Philip B., why can't every winter day be filled with bottles of Chocolate-Pumpkin Conditoning Hair Milk and an evening rubdown with Honey-Maple Hot Oil?

This lowdown feelin also led me to investigate two strikingly similar passages in two books by McSweeney's-related heavyweights, Michael Chabon and Nick Hornby, in an effort to feel productive.

From Wonder Boys:
"It pleased me for a moment to believe I would; but in the very next instant I knew that with death in my body my only desire would be to curl up on the Honor Bilt with half a kilo of Afghan Butthair, roll numbers, and watch reruns of The Rockford Files until the girl in the black kimono came to take me away."

From About a Boy:
"These were people who could not control themselves, or protect themselves, people who, if only temporarily , were no longer content to occupy their own space, people who could no longer rely on a new jacket, a bag of grass, and an afternoon rerun of The Rockford Files to make them complete."

Are we readers of fine contemporary literature to believe that these two channeled a weed-fueled, rerun-watching souless-loser subculture separately, a destiny left when the authors moved on to other projects? Or is it more likely that McSweeney's meetings are hazy gatherings, lit only by the flickering face of James Garner?

I suggest a close reading of both novels on your own. Please alert me of any further clues...

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