That moment when a stranger sees you in the street, realizes he looks like you…
And is crestfallen.
I’m the bathroom attendant at a mid-level gym and I’ve secretly marketed it, without changing a thing, as an art gallery. It was a horrible mistake, as gallery tips are less than I got for drying men’s hands and schpritzing them with mislabeled cologne. Worst of all, I’m about to be found out. Where else, in this economy, can I get a job sandpapering vain men’s balls?
You only hate me because I remind you of you. But I’ll stop, I promise. I’ll never mention you. If you ask me about you, I’ll say, “Who?” Soon, you’ll come to doubt your existence. Eventually, you’ll forget you were ever here. And then, you’ll love me.
It seems this town got it into its head in the ’30s that hosting a World’s Fair shouldn’t only be for cities that didn’t need the boost or the two-way exposure to the world. So, it applied to host one. And was ignored.
But they built one anyway, researching customs from around the world, creating small wooden pavilions to represent thirty-six countries, complete with snack stands where you could buy international foods, craft demonstrations, even little hotels of many nations. They taught themselves, via lessons on 78 rpm records, how to speak the various languages. And they kept the fair going for far longer than the one or two year lifespan of properly ordained fairs.
Over a period of decades, the world took notice. Hip guidebooks from the post-war ’40s caused tourists from “represented” nations to visit when they came to the US. Often, they were surprised by how right…
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I mean, it was an accident I got elected last time, a joke almost. Not my joke, but the joke of the people who put me up for office after I made that video, the first thing I ever did that went viral. At least I thought it went viral. Now I realize it went bacterial and I’m the one who got sepsis or peritonitis or whatever it is you get when you’re overrun with bacteria.
See? I don’t even know THAT, really. It’s all references where I’m concerned. It sounds like I know something, even to me, but there’s no depth to my understanding.
And that’s what happened with this CONGRESS thing. I thought I could do it because I have strong feelings, but there’s a whole process you have to work and I don’t have a work ethic, I have a craft ethic. I’ll spend as much time…
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“Andrew, why are you here, anyway?”
Waxman, the guy on his way out, and I, the guy who’d just come in, were, I guess, bonding.
“You invited me, Henry, don’t you remember?”
I thought I was pretty funny, but he just felt I was dissolving the bond.
“Seriously, Andrew. Everybody’s been talking about how little you seem to even have tried to accomplish since you came to Washington.”
“Really? Everybody? I didn’t think most of the reps even knew me.”
“Well, okay. They don’t. But I’M everybody. I want to leave this body as close to the position of honor I found it in as I can and I can’t do that if jokesters and slackers are filling the seats on our side.” (I know my relating of this makes him seem uptight and proper but, though these are his exact words, he came across quite Jewy and warm.)
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Yeah, I know.
I haven’t really felt like writing. Probably didn’t need to anyway, anything that happened to me in the last few months that might have been interesting was in the papers. Not much of that even.
Nevertheless, you know how I’m feeling right now? I’m feeling like a few months after someone you cared about died or maybe that much time after a big breakup or like, you know, Woody Allen when he doesn’t have to appear on an awards show in “Annie Hall.” My appetite’s coming back, the tree outside is making my heart make an attempt to smile. Life is flowering within me for a few minutes at a time. Then I want to go back to sleep, perhaps the only one of my desires that generally gets fulfilled. Could be depression, could be I’m still sick.
But forget about that, you’re not my therapist. Anyway…
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