Friday, May 18, 2007

A few questions of my own

I am operating on a massive sleep deficit -- six hours last night didn't put me any further behind, but it didn't catch me up, either -- and tired of myself, my voice, and my general insufferableness. Thank God for friends and family who'll put up with it.

So today, rather than pretending I have any answers for anyone, a few questions of my own. If you have answers, please leave them below.

1. Why does everything break down at once? It's never just one major appliance, vehicle, or piece of electronic equipment; it's always at least three in the space of a single week. Why is this?

2. As a corollary question, why do socks all wear out at once?

3. But then, why does only one car headlight blow at a time, even if you replace them both at the same time?

4. Why do people act like such monsters around free stuff? Whether it's food, labor, advance reading copies, or gifts-with-purchase, the idea that someone's entitled to a free whatever disgusts me. I'm damn grateful for free stuff, and it would never occur to me to write or accost someone to ask where my free whatever is or why that favor wasn't done more quickly.

5. What happened to the idea of personal sacrifice for the greater good among our public servants? Where is Sydney Carton when we need him?

All right, that's enough to keep you busy. In Washington one last day, then home again tomorrow. Life would be easier with a jetpack, but then Dizzy couldn't travel with me.

What I Read This Week

Lee Child, Bad Luck and Trouble. Jack Reacher, always the loner, reunites with the members of his former MP Special Investigators' Unit to avenge the deaths of four of their comrades. For the first time, Reacher seems to be counting the cost of his peculiar lifestyle (no possessions but a folding toothbrush, which actually gets destroyed in this book, and no permanent address). Lee Child is speaking and signing at The Mystery Bookstore today, and I'll be interviewing him for a podcast later this afternoon. I feel nervous about that, and he's the first author I've felt nervous about interviewing. If you have any questions you'd like me to ask (Sue...), e-mail them to me.

Harlan Coben (ed.), Death Do Us Part. A collection of short stories of "love, lust, and murder," published by the Mystery Writers of America. It's been on my shelf for at least a year, but it's perfect reading for travel. Tim Maleeny's title story is gleeful and diabolical; Charles Ardai's "The Home Front" deserved its Edgar; and Lee Child's "Safe Enough" has an ingenious twist. Laura Lippman's "One True Love" is my favorite here, though.


Anonymous said...

I can't think of anything to ask Lee Child but here's a quick story: A couple of weeks ago a very nice lady came to the bookstore looking for anything by Lee Child. I showed her where the books were, saying said how much I liked "The Hard Way" my first Lee Child title - I had just finished it the week earlier. She picked up a copy of every Lee Child book we carry - that's 6 or 7) saying how exited she was to get so many. She thanked me and as she went to check out she said, "My husband's going to kill me - I can only read at night and ever since I found these books he complains about not getting enough sex. Oh well - he'll live."

The things people confide in total strangers amaze me.

Good luck with your interviews!


Anonymous said...

Answer to question 5: Not really an answer, but I recommend the film "Bobby," now out on DVD, if you have not seen it. In the closing moments of the film, especially, but at other moments, RFK is heard. Simply stunning, in the context of your question, or otherwise.

Peter S.

Anonymous said...

1.Navy wives would love to know why it happens as the ship pulls out to sea.
2.Do you mean the ones the washer/dryer didn't get first?
3.That's an easy you can find the auto parts store.
4.Those people have this new syndrome called the Greed Syndrome.
5.Didn't Clinton mention that in a speech at Georgetown?
Hope one of these got a smile.
Love you,

Anonymous said...

No answers to question 1 thru 3, but I can state without fear of contradiction that people want more and accept responsibility for less because people, um, suck.

That's a medical term, by the way. Check out this:

We just can't help ourselves, but we should.

Anonymous said...

My bad on the idiocy of my last post. Not sure what happened, but I'll accept responsibility and apologize -- unlike every single person in the Bush administration and everyone running for president.

I meant to write, "I have no answers to questions 1 through 3."