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The joy

Monday 1/31/22

It's not yet nine AM. Wrote the Brady op-ed, the Stossel entry, obviously, ran 3000 stairs, strategized with someone on the phone, shaved for the first time in a week. Will shower and do the Beatles piece.


Went back into three short stories again--"What to Whom," "Bed Curls," "Part of the Service"--for a final-final time. There were perhaps a total of three very small changes to make. A word. An ordering of two words. These are unique works of art.

Went out and ran another 2000 stairs. Still working on the Beatles piece.

Watched Four Falls of Buffalo, about the Buffalo Bills teams that lost four Super Bowls in a row. Likable guys going by their interviews in the documentary. Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith were such exciting players. Interesting, too, how Jim Kelly wanted nothing to do with Buffalo and then he found his home there. Those were great teams, but something was always off. What's weird is they had so much fight, but they maybe didn't have enough of the right kind to win it all. They would seem to doubt themselves. I remember when the country was sick of them, they had lost two Super Bowls in a row, Jim Kelly got hurt, they were getting drilled by the Oilers, and with their back-up, they came back after being down 35-3. Would have been so easy to quit at that point. It was impressive. Personally, I'd rather lose eight Super Bowls in a row than get to none of them in those eight years. Take it as far as you can take it. Every time. Screw everyone else. Who cares what they think? Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers play over the opening sequence, too. Have to like that. Field goal kickers are a lot different now. People forget this, but based on what he had done, what his track record was, what his skills were at the time, there wasn't a lot of reason to expect that Scott Norwood would make that kick. It would have been a surprise. But he's talked about as someone who missed a chip shot that he would make ninety-five percent of the time. The degree of difficulty to be a quarterback has changed a lot--it's never been anywhere near this easy--but the precision of these kickers, and from long range, is also drastically different in the modern NFL. Go on football-reference and look at kickers' stats from, say, 1988. It's sort of like save percentages from that time period and goalie stats in the NHL now.

Voltaire was trending on Twitter, because someone misattributed some quote from like 1993 to him. A reader compared Meatheads to Candide, I recall, probably because of the humor and the goodness. Both are racy in parts. Cunegonde, after all, is a play on the word "cunt." Both books also use rapid turnarounds, but a different kind. In Candide, those are plot turnarounds--it's quite cartoonish. Someone falls off a cliff at the top of one page, and by the middle of it they're fine. The turnarounds in Meatheads have to do with Chad's behavior as pertains to himself. He'll say something completely horrible, affecting people around him, and then four seconds later he's just transitioned into something else. He's blithe. Candide and Chad both look up to sort of guru figures, too. When I was in college, I discovered a letter that Voltaire wrote to his mistress that featured the line, "I want to be the only man who has the joy of fucking you," which enabled me to title my paper, "The Joy of Fucking You."


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