Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Monday, April 23, 2007

Failure of the Day: Putting Things in Cans

Thanks to Chris’s Great Big Brain, we spent the weekend in Monterey. Our hotel was swank—we could lie in bed and watch the ocean lap the shore, and so we did, we did. The Nature, she is nice, especially when confined to the other side of the glass. And especially especially when the hotel people bring bagels and hard-boiled eggs and tea right to your bed. Thanks big brain!

We went to the aquarium and saw the otters and the fish and a bunch of totally dud penguins that just stood there with their backs to us. I may have convinced two 8-year-old boys that one of the most spectacularly odd-looking fish, which was the approximate size and shape of a twin mattress, was actually made of paper-maché. I would have believed me at 8.

I also fully embraced the cliché, thanks to our friend Katrina who, the night before we left, read the first paragraph of Cannery Row into our answering machine. Being the Western canon imbecile that I am, I had no idea how good that first paragraph is. And how embarrassing, considering that it is everywhere in Monterey. That paragraph is inescapable—it is quoted on cocktail napkins and big street sign flags and on the sides of buildings, and yet I had, up till now, escaped it.

Chris brought along his copy for me to read in the hotel, and I’ll tell you what, it’s a damn sight better than The Raw Shark Texts, which is terrible but I was sticking with it because I thought it would be a good thematic match for the weekend. But then I went and got all literal, and why not? Really, why not?


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