My Super Sad Super Brief Engagment with Gary Shteyngart

A Super Sad speaking engagement that is. You guys didn’t think I was engaged, engaged did you? So what – I needed to get your attention at any cost. Anyways, Gary Shteyngart happens to be awesome. Think what you will.

This speaking event last Monday, November 9 cost me upward of $43.00. ($28 for the ticket, $15 for the 2010 book Super Sad True Love Story plus the cost of gas, time, and the energy it takes to keep me awake past 8:00PM on a weekday).

Forty-three dollars, you say!? Yes ma’am or sir, I say to you. I think you’re required to drop AT LEAST $25 to get into this gilded manse of a house of worship. Now, what is being worshiped … I’m not quite sure. I was driven to distraction by an enormous jeweled flower in the lobby – kind of like a massive chandelier. I wonder how many people find the dramatic wall of windows, glass cases of silver samovars, and such completely overwhelming. And the arc … my goodness. It certainly is a work of art. Does the fact that there’s a Torah in there even register?

I digress.

If I and some of my friends and fellow society members are truly at the cusp of a cultural revolution – the one where we fight to live better as a society and walk the fine balancing act of work/life/leisure/and the pursuit of intellectual curiosities and growth, then I think Gary S. is the man to lead us. He could be like David Koresh leading the masses at the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas – and I would follow. And so should you.

Super Sad, triggered by a particularly ironic situation where a television repair person scoffed at the small size of his, um, television … who then proceeded to scold him for extreme book ownership, does a damn good job (in 2010) of forecasting trends in finance (the financial crisis that is), social media and handheld device addiction (okay, it’s no longer my iPhone, it’s my “apparat,)” and well … I just started the book, truth be told.

I can’t wait to dig deeper into it. And his upcoming memoir. A memoir at 39, really Gary? Okay, I’m sure coming from you it will be worthwhile:)

Believe you me when I tell you Jeanie and I elbowed our way to the front of the line for the book signing. We were probably third in line and when I tell you I was flustered and nervous, I’m not kidding. I was just a starstruck geek. “Gosh I’m nervous, I don’t know what to say.” I though that was a good opener as any. Being human. Whodathunk? And then I asked him to sign the book for my daughter, who unlike the characters in Super Sad, does not think books are “smelly.” He seemed pleased to know there is a  3.5 year-old out there who worships books. Maybe there is hope … And Jeanie, beloved Jeanie told him about my blog, which only increased my nervous, starstruck self. And made me feel good.

As Jeanie and I roamed the halls of what I imagine to be the most wealthy Jewish house of worship I shall ever walk (never say never), I thought how nice it would have been to hang out with Gary S. I think we would have had a good time. He’s funny, down-to-earth, engaging, and has a really effective (hilarious) way of communicating some not-so-hilarious (frightening) societal trends.

Thanks Gary S. and Jeanie for dragging me out on a Monday night for a fine time. Come back to Boston. Jeanie and I will buy you a glass of Kvas or a Russian salad of 2-parts mayonnaise to 1-part cabbage, or something of that nature. I promise to obsessively update Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, and my blog the whole way through.


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