Hello all. I hope you’ve been well. I, on the other hand, have some terrible news. It is with great sadness and pain that your humble little diarist tells you that this may just be her last entry.
I know, I know. Devastating. But it’s the truth. You see, I just learned that I could die at any moment. Literally.
Before you run off to your local florist to send me a ridiculously expensive and extravagant bouquet of my favorite flowers (peonies) or to your local jeweler to pick out an appropriately lavish trinket (I’m not averse to rare, colored diamonds), let me stop you right there before you blow last month’s paycheck on what could be the last gift I ever receive (so make it good).
I don’t have a terminal illness. Nor is anyone after me (though with the publication of my latest WikiLeaks column I can’t be sure.)
But earlier this week I was told by a number of experts that I could spontaneously combust. At any moment. Without warning.
Don’t believe me? If you happened to see the Discovery channel special on spontaneous human combustion like I did, you know that this super scary phenomenon is all too real. Apparently there are dozens of cases of unexplained human deaths due to burning, without apparent sources of external ignition. That’s right — living human beings just burst into flames.
Investigators have found the charred remains of otherwise healthy people, in rooms where virtually nothing else was burned. And survivors of this phenomenon have reported instances where they have literally witnessed a limb ignite like a match.
WTF?! How can I peacefully live in a world where I now know that this can happen? How do I live each day in fear that I will burst into flame? And being the very easily-influenced hypochondriac that I am, I’m quite certain now that this will be my ultimate fate. I’m also pretty sure I’m going to contract malaria, suffer a brain aneurism, lose all four of my limbs in a freak train accident, and give birth to my own parasitic twin. I’ll keep you posted.
In other news, I traveled to beautiful Greenville, South Carolina this week to speak at Furman University. Now, I’m admittedly no meteorological genius, but is this supposed to happen so far South?
Other than the freakishly cold weather though, I had a lovely time. Southern hospitality is, I’m happy to say, alive and well. And the folks from Conservative Students for a Better Tomorrow couldn’t have been more adorable.
I also came across a few news items of note that I wanted to pass on. One was Ken Blackwell’s fantastic piece in the December print edition of Townhall Magazine, called “Move the United Nations Out of New York.” He makes some super points, including:
“The United States pays more than 22 percent ($1,800,000,000) of the United Nation’s annual budget. That’s because FDR considered the United States exceptional, the leader of the free world. Since Obama thinks everyone is exceptional, let’s cut the U.S. share of the U.N. budget back to 6 percent. After all, we are constantly told by the Obama administration that the United States’ claims to preeminence are arrogant and offensive to others in Europe and the developing world.”
Genius! So let’s give the UN to Geneva, as Blackwell suggests. As a New Yorker, I can tell you I’m more than just a little peeved that my police officers have to provide security detail for the likes of Ahmadinejad and Muammar Gaddafi.
And speaking of the NYPD, I’ll be attending a benefit at the National Underground this Saturday night for St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, in coordination with local law enforcement. The night will feature a barbecue and live music. Oh, and I’ll be performing burlesque.* If you’re in the area, please stop by. Details here.
I also read Jonathan Franzen’s interview with the AV Club about his newest book “Freedom,” in which he makes some startling admissions about his role as author.
“I’m not sure my interpretation [of my book] necessarily has any special validity, beyond the fact that I know the book very well. I don’t actually think the author should be the last word on what the book means, or what some aspect of the book means. I’m not omniscient.”
Wait, what? If you’re not the last word, who the hell is? Should I ask a literature professor to explain what YOU meant? Should I ask your mother or your therapist? If your interpretation doesn’t have any “special validity,” can I just make up what I thought you meant? Is it like a Rorschach test, where I can just ascribe random words to your work, like “sex,” “two people having sex” and “sex in a La-Z-Boy”? Excuse me for saying, Sir Franzen, but what a crock of lazy-ass, pretentious, horseshit. You have two jobs as an author: One, write a compelling book. And two, explain it to all of us when you’re done.
Now that I know this about your “method,” forgive me if I don’t pick up one of your grotesquely long novels in the future. Life is short, after all. Especially in my case.