The Wisdom of Madmen

My buddy Phil wrote a nice little review of The Cheese Monkeys, Chip Kidd’s debut novel and one of my all-time favorite books.  I’ve written at length about Kidd before and, even though the sequel sort of lacked the charm the first one had (and actually sort of replaced that charm with a new kind of menacing darkness that was, in a word, unexpected), his work is still sharp, witty and knowledgeable.  The Cheese Monkeys is one of those books that will teach you something without making you aware of it.  After you read it, the next time you see a piece of advertising, you’ll pick it apart without so much as a thought, and then you’ll wonder just how in the hell you knew to do so.  In any case, Phil nailed it, and I’m glad he liked it (because I’m the smug bastard who made him feel like less of a person for not having read it).

Nothing new to report, really.  I know I’ve been saying that for, what, six months now?  And nothing’s changed on that front.  I’m still brainstorming, taking a lot of notes, doing a little research, and trying to keep my sanity while organizing a wedding that was supposed to be tiny and is becoming something else altogether not so tiny.

Erica and I applied for our marriage license yesterday.  It was a painless experience with the exception of having to drive into the city to the court house, navigate traffic, park in a cramped parking garage, and mingle along the sidewalk with some of Reading’s finest.  Two things made me laugh a lot yesterday morning:

1)  After verifying and signing the marriage license forms, the young woman behind the desk pushed a plastic-covered Bible in front of both of us, asked that we put our hands on it, and swear to the following questions:

“Do you swear that the information you’ve provided is true to the best of your knowledge?”

“Yes,” we said.

And then:

“Are either of you intoxicated or under the influence of any illegal substances?”


We looked at one another, then reluctantly shook our heads.  Then I laughed and asked how many times that’s actually happened.

“Just last week, as a matter of fact.  They always lie, too.  I can smell it on them.”

Finally, the third:

“Are either of you related?”

Our response: “We hope not.”

After all that was said and done, we had a marriage license pending with the state of Pennsylvania.  I find that I am strangely fine with this.

And 2)  On our way out of the courthouse and back to the parking garage, we passed the county coroner’s SUV.  The trailer hitch on the back a silver skull with red eyes.  A coated wire snaked out from behind the skull and under the carriage.  I suspect the eyes glow when the brake pedal is pressed – in which case said coroner is by far the coolest coroner ever.

Other than that, nothing really spectacular is happening.  I’ve been spending my evenings relaxing, trying not to melt in this perpetual heat wave, and brainstorming this new idea of mine.  Oh, and I’m also doing a bit of research into things that greatly disturb me and also intrigue me (thanks, Amanda).

I hope to start this story soon.

For now I’m going to go cool off.  Have a good one, folks.


P.S. Did any of you Canadians hear about this?  Seriously, what the hell?

2 thoughts on “The Wisdom of Madmen

  1. Two things here, the Indigo Children thing looks interesting, though I don’t know if I can agree with it.

    Second yes I’ve heard about the bus incident, I feel sorry for the guy, and I’m pissed that the man who did it wont get the justice he deserves. After all up here in Canada you can get away with pretty much anything.

  2. Read a book called “The Writing Life” by Annie Dillard. Also, if you haven’t, that Pressfield book “The War of Art” I’ve surely previously recommended. Then write. That’s all there is to it.

    It’s a surreal little process, eh? The marriage license. We had all this trouble with borders and suspected illegal immigration, then I finally got across and at the records office they were like “you two getting married? cool, sign here.”

    You know who’s the worst person to take wedding planning advice from? A wedding planner. People who sell wedding things. It’s their business to make money from you. That’s no fault against them: it is their job, and I’d expect them to do it as well as I do mine. But mine, and yours, is not to pay for the decadent, the exorbitant, the grossly unnecessary. “Simplify, simplify,” said Thoreau, and I’ve always been inclined to agree.

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