My internet went out at 3:24 AM yesterday. I know this because that was the last time my phone successfully checked my email. When I called my internet provider and lost ninety minutes of my life in order to fix this, the automated system told me that if I didn't want to wait, I could log on to their website and chat with an agent. How will I do that, I wondered, without internet? I was met with reassurance, though, in the form a super-competent tech (spoiler alert: not so much) who at one point, while reading the manual and walking me through the steps to restore service, said, "Hopefully this will definitely fix it," and then later told me to "Get a snack. This may take some time." Needless to say, the case was escalated.
Lucky for you, Wendi Aarons is guesting today. Here is her latest piece for McSweeney's, to give you a sense of her smart, funny writing. She is also a voracious reader—I bet she's on her third or fourth library card by now due to overuse.
Take it away, Wendi!
I’m so happy to be a guest on Allison’s newsletter because Allison and I share many things. Not professional credentials because she’s executive editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review and I make fun of Kardashians for US Weekly Fashion Police, but other things. Like we both love reading, we both love Topo Chico, and we’re both Texans. In fact, we’re both so Texan that the one time we met in person was at a Willie Nelson concert in Austin. (Note: This is not remarkable. A Willie Nelson concert in Austin occurs as frequently as a Trump indictment in Manhattan.) (Also, at that particular Willie Nelson concert, my eighty-two-year-old dad got into an altercation with a wasted woman who called herself “SheilaKickAssDeela,” so it was a special night all around.)
Anyway, when I’m not eating salads (drinking) or working out (drinking), I spend a lot of time reading (drinking) and watching movies (drinking). Here’s what I’ve read or seen recently, and what I thought:
1. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
I was far too busy reading Jackie Collins novels in high school to ever try Jane Austen, so this was my first experience with her particular brand of low-simmering romance. (Jackie Collins = high-simmering romance.) I’m not idiotic enough to say anything negative about Ms. Austen because god knows her legion of fans would impale me on their knitting needles, so I won’t. But I will say that there’s no way Elinor should have ended up with Edward even if he was played by Hugh Grant in the movie. AH, PUT AWAY THE CROCHET HOOK!
2. Just the Funny Parts by Nell Scovell
Nell Scovell is a humor writer, director, journalist, and activist and I strongly recommend this memoir about her career even if you’re in completely different fields. Her writing is that great combination of informative and funny, which isn’t easy to do well, and she also doesn’t pull punches about the bad men she came across (cough Letterman cough). She was also the ghostwriter of Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, which was surprising to me because I’m pretty sure I cried more than laughed when I read that one.
3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Who Cares
I checked this book out of the library and started reading it, but by page five, I knew it had nothing to teach me because it’s written by a thirty-four-year-old white guy and women my age INVENTED not giving a fuck. And we’re usually not subtle. For example, the fuck I’m not giving about this book right now.
4. When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri
As a former Hollywood assistant who could tell you a few toe-curling stories about that experience, I really loved Camille Perri’s first novel, The Assistants. Her new novel is equally entertaining. It’s a girl-meets-girl romantic comedy about gender and sexuality that’s funny and fresh. It’s out this June and a great summer read.
5. Wild, Wild Country on Netflix
Am I only recommending you watch this six-part documentary about the frightening Rajneesh cult that set up camp in Oregon in the early '80s so you’ll then read this piece of mine on McSweeney's called "I’ve Decided This Sex Cult Just Isn’t a Good Fit”? Of course I am. Also, if anyone you know ever sets up a cult where you just sleep, drink wine, and watch The Real Housewives, let me know. I’m available.
Wait. Scratch that. I’m already in that cult.
And with that, I’m done! Thank you to Allison for having me, and thank you all for reading. I hope you enjoyed what I had to say, and if not, take heart because our friend Allison will be back next week.
Unless she’s at a Willie Nelson concert with SheilaKickAssDeela.
Thank you, Wendi! Below you will find a photo of Wendi and me at that Willie concert.
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