RUTH. BADER. GINSBERG.
Our delightful nprbooks team reminds you that whenever someone hits #FridayReads with a claim that they are reading Proust, you take a shot. In French? Down the drink.
And we take this claim seriously ourselves, as you can see from our Proust reading former intern.
And our beloved Colin is back, exhorting us all to go into this weekend with a bit of cheer. His message, via nprbooks:
This is Colin, reporting as ever with Proust quietly in hand. I shall finish him, I swear it. This is serious now—no more breaks (after the next one). But till then, expect me here electronically on the dot, every Friday
So, we want to know - on this Friday, what are you reading?
well… well first off, i’d say, seek professional help immediately. because i am wildly unqualified to answer your question with anything but experience. and first off, my experience says, if you are in such a deep and dark place where you say things like this to total strangers on the internet, you need to be in contact with someone that can help you start to heal.
second, i’d say… you’re wrong. i’d say the things any of us don’t know, especially about tomorrow, could blanket every grain of sand on every beach of the world with bullshit. And to simply assume you are done tomorrow because you are done today is a mistake. a factual mistake, an error, a critical miscalculation.
i’d say, read Tad Friend’s piece JUMPERS in which he seeks and finds and talks to people that jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge — and lived. And they all say the same variations this: “I instantly realized that everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable—except for having just jumped.”
And know that this piece has kept me in my seat on more than a couple dark nights.
And i’d say — i’d say i felt that way before too, and i was wrong.
And then i’d tell you something i don’t even think my wife knows. this happend years before we met — shit, more than a decade — and it’s not the first time i came close to suicide was on a thanksgiving night. i’d eaten well and then as the house shut down i went into the bathroom, drew a bath as hot as i could manage to stand, and climbed into the tub with a razor blade.
As i started to cut, as the corner touched my skin and that jolt of pain fired into my head, i stopped and thought — y’know, last chance. Are you SURE?
And i was tired. I sounded like you, that i knew there’d be ups again and downs but i was just so fucking TIRED i couldn’t stand the thought of having to get there. I felt this… this never-ending crush of days that were grey and tepid but for some reason i was supposed to greet each one with a smile. the constant pressure of having to keep my shit in all the time was just exhausting.
I wondered, then — well, is there anything you’re curious about. Anything you want to see play out. And i thought of a comic i was reading and i’d not figured out the end of the current storyline. And i realized I had curiosity. And that was the hook i’d hang my hat on. that by wanting to see how something played out I wasn’t really ready. That little sprout of a thing poking up through all that black earth kept me around a little longer.
I realized then that it had been so long since i’d laughed. I was numbed out and shut down and just… i missed laughing. maybe if i laughed a little i could get moving again. so i’d wait for my comic to conclude, try to find a few laughs, and then reevaluate.
So I’m in the bathtub and i got this real sharp-ass razor, right? And i look down and there’s all my bits floating in the water like they do and i thought okay, let’s get funny and i got to work.
I shaved off exactly half my pubic hair vertically. The end result was a ‘fro of pubes that looked like a Chia Pet that only half-worked. I started to laugh as I did it. And every time i’d piss, looking down made me laugh.
Because JESUS what a nightmare.
Shortly thereafter I got very heavily into Chuck Jones and Tex Avery. Way less chafing and way more funny.
jesus. i was still in high school at the time. dig if you will a picture of the chubby weirdo that was always giggling at his dick in the bathroom. that was me.
And then I guess I’d tell you about Dave, who did the same thing as me a few years later, only DIDN’T have my hilarious Chia Dick strategy in mind and got the razor in and up. And as he started to bleed out “Brown Eyed Girl” came on the radio and he realized he’d never get to hear that again so, in a bloody comedy of errors — I swear to god this is true — he got out of the tub, tried to get dressed the best he could, went downstairs calling for help only to find his family gone, went out to his car, and drove to doug’s house only to find doug not home and so, then, finally, he blacked out from blood loss sitting there in his car, playing a van morrison CD on repeat, until, by luck, Doug’s mom came home and found him.
Fucking Van Morrison, y’know?
A song, a comic, something dumb, something small. From that seed can come everything else, I swear to god.
I guess last I’d say… I’d say that, look — if you reached out to me for an answer, than I have to reach back out to you and insist you hear it. Because it means, what, you know me? My work? You read my stuff and thought, well, fuck, if anyone would know why I shouldn’t end my life, if anyone alive is QUALIFIED TO SAVE ME it’s the guy that had britney spears punch a bear? okay — okay, then, so as THAT GUY I’m saying: Get help. Now, today, tonight, whenever — get to a phone and find a doctor that can try to help you heal, that can try to recolorize your world again, that can help you start caring again. All you need is that one tiny thing, that speck, that little grain of sand. the World Series, AVENGERS 2, Tina Fey’s new show, the first issue of PRETTY DEADLY, some slice of the world you’ve never seen, some drink you love, who the fuck will love your dog like you do if you’re gone, what if jabrams KILLS it on the new STAR WARS, the hell are you doing for Halloween, you ever feed a dolphin with your bare hand? because i have and I am fucking telling you IT IS A THING TO EXPERIENCE and oh god WHAT FUCKING FONT WILL STARBUCKS USE ON THE CHRISTMAS DRINK SLEEVES THIS YEAR — i don’t care what or how dumb but i promise you somewhere in your life is that one fleck of dust that can help start you on the road back. That’s all it takes. One fucking mote, drifting through your head.
And because you asked me I am answering you because i know, motherfucker, i know, i know, i know the hole you are fucking in because I was there myself and if you look hard you can still see my writing on those walls and if you stare long enough i swear to god it’s pointing to up
I love you, Matt Fraction. I love you so goddamn fucking much.
To catch you up on current events, the House Republicans are currently lying on the floor, holding their breath, and turning blue, in a last ditch effort to get someone to make the Affordable Care Act (A/K/A Obamacare) go away. What terrifies them is not the idea that the program will fail, but that, in fact, it will succeed. And, for some reason, the thought of working people, children, and the poor having health coverage makes them panicky for some reason.
To that end, the Tea Party noise machine has done everything it can to spread misinformation about the law, prevent it from being implemented, and block the government from providing basic information about how the Affordable Care Act works. This is a familiar tactic from other recent political battles: frantically cut the legs out from under the law at the legislative level, then scream that it obviously doesn’t work, and try to have it eliminated.
Here are the facts the hissy-fit crew don’t want you to know:
If you have insurance, you keep it. Nothing changes.
If you apply for insurance, and you have a preexisting condition, most insurers can no longer deny you coverage.
If you can’t afford insurance, the government will help you pay.
Your insurance coverage, whatever it is - whether it is supplied by your employer, or you go and get it yourself in the new health insurance marketplaces - will help pay for everything from preventative care, to doctor’s visits, to prescriptions. Because working people shouldn’t be one accident or illness away from bankruptcy. This is a simple matter of decency and social fairness. I am confused why anyone thinks otherwise.
Some people worry if they don’t get insurance, they will go to jail. This is a falsehood. However, in 2014, if you do not have health insurance, you have to get some, or pay a fee. And you say: but why do I need health insurance?? I’m not sick and I don’t need medical care! But if you get hit by a drunk driver, you will need care. Or if you slip on the ice. Or if you’re diagnosed with a malignant tumor. Everyone is in the health care market… ill health is an inevitable part of the human existence.
Don’t worry signing up will be hard! Help finding a plan is available.
The ACA means your insurer cannot drop you just because you get sick. It also means insurers cannot set arbitrary limits on how much they will spend on your care each year. Need more care? Get more money.
The ACA protects your choice of doctors, and makes sure your children can stay on your health plan until they’re 26. It guarantees your right to appeal if your insurer tries to dick you out of your fair coverage.
Guess what else? The money you’re spending on insurance? The insurance companies now face an 80/20 requirement, meaning that they have to spend 80% of what they make on health care, not on marketing, or administration, or other happy-crappy. Now they have to do less selling, more doing.
There’s a lot more to learn, if you want - all the facts are right here - but there is no reason to be afraid of the law. The goal is to protect families from the worst: the debilitating illness that wipes them out financially and closes the door to opportunity.
For creative people, the ACA is probably the best thing to happen in decades. I can’t tell you how many comic book creators are one sickness from having everything swept away. The creative class has been one of the great engines of the American economy, and in that way, the Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act is an attack on what America does best: invent and create.
Again: all the information you need, including how to sign up, is right here. Take a few minutes and get some facts for yourself. You won’t need more than a few minutes - this is simple, not hard, and a positive, not a negative.
By all means, reblog this post. It’s important for people to get good information. You can help by passing along the essential facts.
Running through the house at 100mph, I got stuck in the gate. Don’t worry, I’m fine. The wall however did not survive.