Letter 26: AOCYEUBY – Last Lines


Dear David,

I have now read and/or skimmed Lipsky’s Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself about four times as I have dug into the text to find subject matter for my Letters.  I think I have pulled out all that I can to elaborate or comment on, but each time I have revisited your conversation, a number of lines have stuck in my mind.  Not because of their profundity, but because they are so stinkin’ funny.  In or out of context, your wit and wordplay are sheer genius, and are worth repeating here.  No commentary necessary; just raw, unadulterated Wallacisms at their best.

Page 9, in Advanced Prose Class:  “Never – don’t go there: ‘Their eyes met across the keg…’ And ‘What’s interesting to me may not be to you.’”

Page 12, in Monical’s Pizza: “The funny thing is, of course, I saw on the schedule, ‘You will have this escort.  Who will pick you up.’  And of course, when I hear escort, I think, I imagine like a geisha… And of course these escorts turn out to be burly Irishmen.  You know in their forties.”

Page 22, still in Monical’s Pizza, Lipsky says, “David Leavitt noose quote: Reviewers will use my first book to hag my second book.”

You say: “I think it often is.  Although the nice thing about having written an essentially sh***y first book is that I’m exempt from that problem.”

Page 97, on a plane at O’Hare Airport: “It’s much easier [than dating] having dogs.  You don’t get laid; but you also don’t get the feeling you’re hurting their feelings.”

Page 104, PA announcement on the plane, “Smoking only is permitted outdoors.”

You say: “’Permitted only outdoors.’ It’s not the only thing that’s permitted outdoors.”

Page 105, Check-in Girl at the Hotel Whitney says, “And you have a room with twins.”

“Yes, Anita and Consuela.”

Page 106, at lunch in Minneapolis, Lipsky notes: There’s a “V” on the menu, marking the vegetarian dishes.

You say to the waitress: “Do you count chickens?  Chickens are very stupid.”

Page 118, in the car on the way to an NPR interview in Minneapolis: “This morning [on TV], a simultaneous broadcast of Falcon Crest, Magnum PI, and Charlie’s Angels: an orgy of crap.”

Page 127, in the car driving away from the airport in Chicago: “The Alanis Morrisette obsession followed the Melanie Griffith obsession – a six-year obsession.  It was preceded by something that I will tell you that I got teased a lot for, which was a terrible Margaret Thatcher obsession.  All through college: posters of Margaret, and ruminations on Margaret Thatcher… It more involved – like having tea with Margaret Thatcher.  Having her really enjoy something I said, lean forward and cover my hand with hers.”

Pages 149-150, in Denny’s: “I think it means that my total, entranced, uncritical absorption into this fantasy world of TV was starting to be over.  Like I remember noticing in Scooby-Doo that Thelma always lost her glasses at some point.  And it was always the amusement camp operator going around in costume, and feeling pissed off, that like it couldn’t be any more sophisticated.”

Page 292, at your house (also the passage quoted on the back cover): “It’s more like, if you can think of times in your life that you’ve treated people with extraordinary decency and love, and pure uninterested concern, just because they were valuable as human beings.  The ability to do that with ourselves.  To treat ourselves the way we would treat a really good, precious friend.  Or a tiny child of ours that we absolutely loved more than life itself.  And I think it’s possible to achieve that.  I think part of the job we’re here for is to learn how to do this. [Spits with mouthful voice into cup.][1] I know that sounds a little pious.”

Thanks, Dave, for your words and your wisdom, but most importantly for not taking things to seriously.


[1] Emphasis is mine.  While this is an incredibly profound, back-cover-worthy statement, what kills me is the interruption before the last sentence to spit a mouthful of tobacco juice into a Styrofoam cup.

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