I am writing this to all of you from Utah, where I am on my quarterly trip into the bosom of Nicole Cliffe's family. In another five days Nicole Chung is going to be here, and I will get to meet her for the first time in my entire life. The three of us worked together ("together") roughly every day for roughly three years, which seems outrageous to me, but have never all been in the same room at the same time. I am looking forward to it more than I can say.
This morning I woke up and found Nicole's husband dragging their two children very slowly and very carefully down the hallway on a sled. It was the most charming sight I have ever beheld, and that's even accounting for the fact that I just saw The Hunt for Red October for the first time in my life. The Hunt for Red October is a splendid movie about what a good idea it is not to blow up submarines. I, who had mistakenly assumed it was a movie about what a good idea it was to blow up submarines, was pleasantly surprised.
My bed here has trains on it. Whenever I stay at Nicole's house, I am put away in the same guest room, where the queen-sized bed has trains all over the coverlet. This seems like information you should have, so I am sharing it with you now.
This week I also had the opportunity to write a new chapter for my second book (we're changing the cover, please forget that's the cover) because, as it turns out, A.A. Milne is not in the pubic domain, so you'll all just have to content yourselves with some distressing things happening to the little animal dudes from Wind in the Willows. (Which was, as I'm sure you recall, already fairly distressing. Hah! HOW I GROW WEARY OF MYSELF.)
If, on the off chance that any of you are either Ilene Chaiken or an executive at Showtime, please consider hiring me for the reboot of The L Word, kindly forgetting anything critical I have ever said in the last ten years about The L Word. In the past, I have had surprisingly good luck getting jobs by lying in bed and passionately and formlessly wanting things to happen to me, so I'm hoping that strategy will serve me well a second time.
(This draft has been saved in my TinyLetter's outgoing folder for almost two months now, but the only thing I'd actually written was "There are always Australians wherever you go," which is a much thinner premise than I thought it might be. I don't have much to say about the topic, except that whenever I have gone traveling, or whenever a friend of mine has gone traveling, no matter the destination, there have always been a statistically improbable number of Australians there. Were I to travel to the Moon, I have no doubt there would be a friendly Australian dude hanging out at the spaceport there, whose job description I would find curiously vague and whose source of income even vaguer. Think back to the last trip you took – whether it was a road trip to the nearest national park or an international orgy sponsored by Hedonism Bot. Did you encounter an Australian person there? Did they seem to have been on the fifteenth week of a vacation with no definable endpoint? Did they graciously offer you some Emergen-C or ibuprofen, which they seemed always to have to hand? I rest my case.)
Earlier this week, a friend sent me a link to an interview with the dude who invented Untuckit, a company that is based on the premise of "shirts, but a little bit shorter than usual," with the mutual understanding that we would both find it silly in a similar fashion. I think we did! I found it silly and delightful; you may find it silly and infuriating, or some other silly-intensifier. (I also want to buy some of their shirts, and almost certainly will.) I am grateful to it mostly for the greatest snippet of human dialogue I have ever read:
After coming up with a prototype, [Riccobono] called Mr. Sanandres, a friend from business school. 'I want to throw something by you," Mr. Riccobono said. "I had done this 350 times before, where the conversation ends, 'O.K., I'll call you next time.' I just said, 'Do you ever wear your shirt untucked?' He goes, 'I'm in.'
Very few sentences have ever given me this kind of joy. This is as good as the briefcase full of jellybeans tweet. It has the absolute confidence of Rachel McAdams' "Get in, loser, we're going shopping," the joy of recognition and affirmation found in Will Ferrell's Goulet when he compliments the ram on its staring-contest prowess, the patter and expected payoff of the "say no more" barber macros, a real hail-fellow-well-met reunion of the soul á la The Traveling Companion or other Grateful Dead-type fairy tale. Three-hundred and fifty times this dude made a call, hoping to be understood. For the three-hundred and fifty-first time he asked the question ("Who are you?" "Are you looking for messengers?" "What is being taught, and how is this teaching received?"), expecting nothing, but the three-hundred and fifty-first time he received the token, and his brother was In.
Do you ever wear your shirt untucked?