Thursday, February 27, 2003
A Song of Myself
Every so often, I'll get an e-mail from a reader that goes a something like this: "Hello. I am an avid reader of your site. But I'd like to know a little more about the person behind the multinatonal internet enterprise that will one day subsume cyberspace as we know it. What are you like?"
Usually I'd just direct an inquiry such as this one to the FAQ, but at the moment I'm feeling expansive. I just watched Saddam Hussein give a sit-down to Dan Rather. And I'm sitting down. And Dan Rather's here, having a cup of Dunkin' Donuts French Vanilla, running some ideas for tomorrow's lead story by me. So here's what I told Dan after reading aloud the sample question above:
"Do you remember the first time your parents (and I'm only referring to two-parent families, because it's just not the same if your parents split up at a young age) took you to the beach? You were probably four or five years old, and when they let you go, you splashed happily into the damp sand, but stopped short of diving into the water. You were probably too young to fully comprehend the experience, but an innate sense of awe was gently shaken awake, like when your parents (again, two-parent households only) woke you the morning you first went off to school. Then you tore off into the surf, kicking up clumps of the moist shore as you plunged in.
You returned to the same beach as a young adult. You stood at the edge of the sand, again staring into the rolling waves and churning surf. And you were suddenly aware of how insignificant you are in the face of all this nature, the power of this raw creation.
Well, that's the difference between you and me. I looked out into the surf and thought to myself, I am bigger and wetter and my waves crash with more force and I can stomp on every sand castle and swallow this beach whole and spit it out in the parking lot and cut donuts with my dune buggy as women, children, and lifeguards alike scatter. I can drink a fifth of bourbon with Keith Richards behind the lifeguard tower and then kick him in the balls and run away. I can blot out the sun and do some breakdancing in the eight minutes that will elapse until the earth goes cold and we all perish. Then Keith and I can vomit in a stained trash can next to the snack bar, fall asleep on top of a picnic table, rising only when a beach person nudges me and asks if I am going to finish my fries. I can tell him to go ahead and finish them. I've fed the hungry and my day is complete, so I can go back to sleep. I am a Whitman poem gone horribly wrong."
So, yeah, that's what I'm like.
And Dan goes back to his coffee, mumbling, you should probably keep that to yourself.