Wearing black Levi's and some old short-sleeve Paul Smith shirt with what appears to be sea anemones on it, I went to Bookcourt in Brooklyn. Two of my authors, including the lovely Simon Van Booy, were on a three-person panel on romance and philosophy. My author Andrew Shaffer (GREAT PHILOSOPHERS WHO FAILED AT LOVE) brought a prize wheel with him (!) from Iowa and they did a little philosophical game show. My ticket was called, and I sat in the hot seat and answered some question about philosophy. I don't remember what the question was, but I won a chocolate. I know that John Reed from the Brooklyn Rail, whose voice I sometimes hear in my head like a moral compass, would say that it was corrupt of me to win at a game that I had helped set up. But what is the book business if not corrupt? (I love the word "corrupt" - my father called me that once when I was a child, and I still hear it as though pronounced with his voice's rich, majestic timbre.)
The room was full of hot straight guys, which always puts me in a bad mood. The other panelist, Todd Colby, was the only guy there whom I thought could be "funny," but a quick Google search the next morning revealed that he has a wife. And also that he has terrible luck and has barely survived fires and such, so probably not the best match for me, anyways. I like to be the unlucky one in any relationship, and I usually am.
Remember when a guy's ambiguous sexuality could become fodder for a years-long, ultimately unrequited crush? (I still think of you now, Steve from Zido's.) Now, thanks to Google, my hopes are dashed within hours, not years. I'm sure that's for the best. Now, after meeting him, I am sure that my email address will be added to Todd's mailing list, and I will get emails soon inviting me to a reading he's doing in Brooklyn somewhere. Thanks to Google, I will file these emails away in a folder called "To be wistfully ignored," a folder that, strangely, is full to overflowing. (Anyway, don't people realize that people who live in Manhattan, like me, pay extra every month so that we don't have to go to Brooklyn?)
Several of my most existential questions that evening received an answer, or, rather, a temporary salve, in the form of the reading, the ersatz game show, and a nice dinner afterwards with Mary, who accompanied me. But my most pressing question, in the end, was not answered to my satisfaction. Why does Andrew Shaffer have a prize wheel?