brothercyst: all the "sad young literary men"

Friday, April 25, 2008

all the "sad young literary men"

Last night I was going to a bar to meet two friends, and I called another friend who lived in the neighborhood to see if he wanted to meet up. His phone went straight to voicemail so I sent him a text message. He didn't respond for a long time and when he did his text said:

"In jail for young literary men."

It took me a second to decipher this. So my friend will sometimes refer (so to speak) to marijuana using a completely random euphemism, both mocking and observing the tradition of pot smokers to call their chosen drug by affectionate nicknames of their own invention. It isn't just my friend who does this, I guess, but a number of our friends. For example, if a person was making plans but had to wait for a dealer to come by and deliver weed, that person might say, "Well, I can't leave until the guy comes by with the bisexual model," or something like that. The more random/illogical, the better. And so then I remembered that recently someone mentioned this book, All the Sad Young Literary Men, and shortly afterward a suggestion was made that some "sad young literary men" be smoked prior to seeing Speed Racer in IMAX. So I understood that the text message probably meant my friend had been arrested for smoking weed in public.

He managed to get out very late last night (text message: "Just got out. So happy!"), which is good considering that some years ago another friend was arrested for the exact same offense and because of a bureacratic glitch stayed in jail for several days--not exactly hard time but surely terrifying for a twenty year old college student.

Weirdly I read All the Sad Young Literary Men the same day this happened, yesterday. Despite the wretched, embarrasing title (why didn't anyone intervene?), it's very good. (Word of mouth didn't seem promising. Two people told me they like it--but they're both friends of the author. Two others told me they didn't...and they're also friends of the author.) I don't know. I read it fast and enjoyed it and thought it was one of the better comic first novels I've read in a long time, if clumsy at the end. Worth sliding money across a counter for, I think. It seemed perceptive and it actually caused me to chuckle at least four or five times, which--if we acknowledge the rarity with which people sitting alone reading or writing actually "laugh out loud"--is pretty remarkable.

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