When I reach that professional plateau where reading is indeed part of my job, it won’t be a distraction. For now, though, reading stuff outside of the courseload IS one of many distractions. The offending book in question?
Never picked up anything with Dave Eggers‘ name attached before, but after scanning his intro at a used bookstore in Ocean City, NJ, I bought this and his introductory opus, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Still haven’t read the latter, but it sits on one of the bookshelves behind my stain-resistant couch.
Every lavatory trip, though, I’ve been reading BANR 2006, and among written pieces on things ranging from the Iraq War to a lesson in creative writing (by the late Kurt Vonnegut!), and excerpts from graphic novels by guys like Joe Sacco, I found what has become my favorite list of all time: The Best American Things To Know About Hoboes!
There is a bit of history involved (hoboes written out, thanks to FDR!!!), and the piece concludes in a few pages. The real gold is the list of 700 hobo names. Yep, 700. I can count on this list to make me laugh, every time I pick it up. You get classic-sounding names like: Boxcar Jones, the Boxcar Benjamin Disraeli and Tennessee Ernie Dietz, but the real joy is in names like Slo-mo Deuteronomy, Fr. Christian Irish the Deep-Fat Friar, Whitman Sampler and Dee Snider. I’d share a boxcar with all these tramps.
Just keep your distance from Battlin’ Joe Frickinfrack. Before you know it, you’ll be scrappin’ for pork and beans under a watertower, makin’ moonshine for the blind tiger with the flim-flam man and outrunnin’ the railroad bulls, while some copper stars are chasin’ the lot o’ ya.
Don’t say ya hain’t been warned.
-Strictly Local Lydonwrites