Thursday, July 13, 2006

America's Report Card - continued

Back to America's Report Card, part one

NM: Since you sent me a free copy of your book before its publication date, the sales for this novel are now negative one. We gotta get more people to read your books. You're such a talented writer, so I think we should do this by focusing on something totally superficial about you. Can you tie a cherry stem into a knot with your tongue or possibly have athlete's foot?

JM: Why do you assume that there’s anything superficial about me? I have a goddamn Ph.D. and teach at a prestigious university! Okay, here’s something I used to do -- and would still be willing to do if it meant selling books. Back when I was single, my pick-up line -- after a long night of drinking -- was to offer to flip a girl over my back, judo-style. When I was younger, I had taken a bunch of different martial arts, fought in tournaments, and could break boards over my head, but as I got older, the only thing that remained was my ability to flip someone, which is pretty much useless unless it’s used as a pick-up line. And so I spent a few years, between my first and second marriages, flipping girls. It’s fun. They loved it; I loved it. So, here’s the deal. I’m old now and out of shape, and my lower back frequently gives out when I reach for something on my fridge’s bottom shelf, but if someone under, say, 150 pounds wants me to flip them at a reading, I’ll flip them, regardless of gender, race, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation.

NM: I noticed that you dedicated your book to Ann Coulter, she of the neo-hitler politics and the red lace teddy. You could've dedicated the book to your wife, but you didn’t. Unless "Ann Coulter" is your codeword for your wife to do something raunchy, I imagine that you’re in the doghouse. This is your chance to make it up to her. Go.

JM: You got me, man. Ann Coulter is indeed a codeword, but only if I say her name in a negative light, as I do in the book’s dedication. It’s an angry dedication. The angrier the context in which I say Ms. Coulter’s name, the rauchier.things get.

NM: Finish this sentence: Dennis Rodman wore a wedding dress to a book signing, John McNally is going to send more free books to --

JM: --the first stranger who hugs me after a reading. And to you, sir, oh king of the blogs. You are on the permanent free books mailing list.

So that's the interview. The book is part thriller, part dark comedy, part political satire. I enjoyed it very much. I wasn't kidding about the extra long crap. It kept me up late to see what happens to the protagonist Charlie Wolf, 25, over-educated, semi-employed, who liked to have sex with his girlfriend whenever he popped a chicken pot pie in the oven.

But here, listen, what if you were bumming around one summer after graduating, and you decide to take a job scoring essays for a national standardized exam and the answer to one of the questions was this:

"I don't know who reads these things and I can't imagine what kind of sad life you must have but let me tell you a little bit about myself. My name's Jainey O'Sullivan, and when I was given an IQ test years ago I blew everyone else out of the water, but something's happened. Someone killed my art teacher, and I'm afraid they're after me now…"

I hope you have one of those cushioned toilet seats. You're gonna want to take an extra long crap to find out what happens.


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