The Discomfort Zone

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
My computer has refused to post a picture of today's book - or any picture for that matter. It's going to take some time for us to work out our creative differences (my computer's a bit of a diva, and she refuses to work unless her demands for Evian, M&M's that have all of the red ones removed, and a humidifier in her dressing room, are met) so today's entry is going up without the picture. I did manage to convince her to post tonight's entry (well okay, I threatened to call my lawyers) and so we have at least come to a place of fragile peace. . . for now. But I have warned her that one more outburst like this and I'm going to replace her with someone with a better work ethic.

Since it's Wednesday, it's time for the end-of-the-week count, although I can't post the count for the year so far because I just discovered that I didn't put up an end-of-the-week count last week, and so I haven't yet figured out what the running tally is. What can I say, I run a tight ship around here. Professionalism and discretion, those are the guiding forces behind A Book a Day (I couldn't even type that with a straight face.)

For the week:


PAGES - 1,927

For the year so far:

CHAPTERS - Who the hell knows

PAGES - Your guess is as good as mine

Today's book, "As Jonathan Franzen tells it, he was the kind of boy who was afraid of spiders, school dances, urinals, music teachers, boomerangs, popular girls - and his parents. He has nothing against geeky kids except a desperate fear of being taken for one of them, a fate that would result in instant Social Death. The Discomfort Zone is Frazen's intimate memoir of growing up squirming in his own sensitive skin . . . "

Today's book just sort of wildly veered all over the place and there were places where I was sitting there wondering Why is he telling us this? (which I'm assuming is the same feeling all of my dear readers have when I start talking about bologna gum and inkless pens, so who am I to judge?) And yet, despite the weird, rambling bouts of inconsistency, I still liked the book. I'm not entirely sure why I liked it, but after reading several hundred really crappy books, I don't ask questions anymore.

Today's book avoided the fatal mistake that most books make, forgetting to mention the Wetzel name. That's right, I was just kicking back, reading the book, and then I spot my last name - and since I am endlessly fascinated by all things related to me, I instantly sat up and took notice. The horrible error of leaving the Wetzel name out of most books has been a source of great chagrin amongst the members of my family for quite some time now. Well, actually, it's just one family member who is troubled by this, my Uncle Andy who insists that the story of that fateful expedition to the Pacific coast and back was really known as "The Lewis and Clark and Wetzel Expedition," but you see the Wetzel's were cruelly cut out due to discrimination against Germans. From what I understand, he even used to tell that story on dates (cause he's a smooth operator), including on his first date with the woman who became his wife. Don't get me wrong, I do admire this approach - just throw your dorkiness right out there on the table from the beginning, and that way if the other person sticks around you know it's because they really care and not just because they're trying to cash in on the prestige of the Wetzel name - but, I am still amazed that it worked.

And then, because it's been several days since I've mentioned TV on my blog, it's time to discuss the way that today's book reminded me of a TV show. But let's make a fun little game out of it dear readers, I'm going to tell you the passage from the book that reminded me of a TV show and then you can guess what it reminded me of. I'll go ahead and reveal the answer in the blog entry, and we're just going to have to operate on the honor system as to whether any of you were right. Or it's entirely possible that you'll read this, think She's the dorkiest blogger ever and I'm not playing along with her dumb game, and totally ignore me. I can't say I would blame you. Here's the passage, "My father had found him a plum summer job with Sverdrup & Parcel." - Yes, that's right dear readers, that's you're only clue. And now it's time for a moment of silence so you can think about the answer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If you guessed the episode of Brady Bunch where Greg works at his Dad's office in order to save up for a car, then you're correct. And if you couldn't come up with an answer, then congratulations, you are a completely normal human being whose brain hasn't been so fundamentally altered by thousands of hours of TV that all it takes is one line in a book that has absolutely nothing to do with TV in order to remember an entire episode (which wasn't even all that great of an episode, if you ask me.)

Favorite passage from the book, in which the author discusses his childhood guilt over everything, "I felt guilty for preferring my best shooter marbles, a solid red agate and a solid yellow agate, my kind and my queen, to marbles farther down my rigid marble hierarchy. I felt guilty about the board games that I didn't like to play - Uncle Wiggily, U.S. Presidential Elections, Game of the States - and sometimes, when my friends weren't around, I opened the boxes and examined the pieces in the hope of making the games feel less forgotten. I felt guilty about neglecting the stiff-limbed, scratchy-pelted Mr. Bear, who had no voice and didn't mix well with the other stuffed animals. To avoid feeling guilty about them, too, I slept with one of them per night, according to a strict schedule."

And now, it's time to continue with day four of trying to find my DVD remote. I'm dangerously close to holding a televised candlelight vigil in which I beg, plead, and pray for the remote's safe return.