And The Hits from McSweeneys Keep Coming
From: Abbi M Dion
Subject: If This is ChickLit then Life is a Joke__AbbiDion
If This is Chick Lit then Life is a Joke
By Abbi Mireille Dion
I'm standing here. You're typing.
This is no one's problem. There are bigger ones. What does this particular problem tell us about culture; how does it say what isn't said better by the sparrow standing in the window sill as I write this… What does sill mean? Where does it come from? I remember drinking all night with you. Carousing. Carouse. From the German, garaus. Literally, to drain the cup. That night. I said. I want this to be the last time I tell someone these stories. You said, I remember saying that when I was your age. Hmm. What kind of statement is this making about people? In Harpers magazine this month there is a picture of a man and a woman, home erectus 600,000 years ago.
And just recently I learned they walked the earth alongside homo sapiens, which means of course, not that they hung around together, but that, at some point, walking across Asia, they might have seen one another from a distance.
It was strange to learn this when I did. Strange because the question of such a prospect had been in my thoughts, the wonder, and I had been meaning to find out. But then on Sunday, you just dropped the information in my lap. In passing conversation. Like, hey, don't you think it is amazing that in the course of evolution...
We were sitting in the apartment. You were studying for an exam. I was picking up clothes from the floor thinking about how to end my story, and ginger, how to make crystallized ginger. Thinking you must have to shave the ginger root into strips to start, then cover the strips with sugar, then lay them flat to dry. But I needed them now, for something I was cooking. To pass the time. So I did steps one and two and put them in the oven in a bowl; there weren't any pans. And then I started writing and listening to music and I forgot about the ginger in the oven and it had turned to slime. But I used it anyway and if you ask me, the rice pudding was exquisite.
I wonder if the man and the woman in the picture thought about each other as individuals, as unique and singular in the universe. Maybe this question is too modern and banal. Maybe I should ask, did they speak a language that resembles our own? Did they think things they would not say. Like, I'm afraid of a lot of things.
In the dictionary, above carouse, is the entry: carotid. Meaning either of the two principle arteries which convey blood from the aorta to the head: one is on each side of the neck. From the Greek karoun—to plunge into sleep or stupor.
You told me while typing out thoughts on the notion of cultural studies that Neanderthals buried their dead, that they put flowers by their graves. Neanderthal comes from the name of a man who wrote hymns: Joachim Neander.
I saw a ghost.
It was winter. Minnesota. I was walking across a frozen golf course. Like a landscape painting of a hunter in the snow. You came from behind a tree. The wind in fir branches. You were the snowman.
And so was I.
Did we invent God to explain the messy apartment, the messy instance of washing the dishes while you recite Arnold, the messy war and messy unforeseen deaths?
Or to explain this moment in the snow.
The bourgeois explanation is less fun. And I like fun.
What kind of statement am I making by saying this.
From: Web Submissions [mailto:email@example.com]
To: Abbi M Dion
Subject: Re: If This is ChickLit then Life is a Joke__AbbiDion
Hi, Abbi -
Well-told, but not a good fit for the site. We’re primarily interested in stuff bent on making us laugh out loud.