In 1996, and my friend took me to lunch in the Lower East Side in NYC. We were meeting up with her friend, Arthur. Arthur is a writer. He gave me a copy of his first book - The Fuck Up, and then quickly asked us if I we wanted to go hang out with the members of the band, Girls Against Boys. We hadn't sat down yet to eat. I said, No thanks, I had to go back to the office. Arthur was interesting and quirky. He talked in broad streams of thought, leaping from one conversation to the next. It was a fascinating hour. When he handed me a copy of his first, self published book, it felt sturdy, solid, just the right size. After lunch I slipped it in my bag and said good-bye. On the way back to the office on Spring Street I read the first page, and knew I had just been handed something great: The book opens like this:
"Perhaps the price of comfort is that life passes more rapidly. But for anyone who has lived in uneasiness, even for a short, memorable duration, it's a trade-off that will gladly be made."
It seems, that in my life, I have been blessed enough to stumble upon imperfect greatness, by accident many, many times. Sometimes one of these graces gently places a gem in my hands: this is New York to me. This is life outside of New York to me. Tonight I looked through our shelves of books, and noticed my original copy, now out of print, is not to be found. I have a thing about books. I don't lend them often, and for some reason I needed this book today. There are new editions in print. Perhaps I'll pick it up, and pay for it this time.
If you are short on summer reading, and can handle a wild, sad, hilarious ride set in the gritty, destitute East Village of the 1980's then The Fuck Up is your adult Catcher in the Rye.