I give in. Gristle’s comedic outpourings are too powerful for me. They lodge in the mind, the throat, the heart, the heart strings, the heart cockles, the heart bottom and literal butt-bottom like a volcanic stone with jagged edges of fire that says crazy shit every time I see it — and I give up! I cry uncle! Every day I sit down to write a blog post that doesn’t include Gristle and I can’t do it. I just can’t.
I’m worried that this means one thing: that I am nothing without him. Gristle is the comedian, I am a talentless hack who contents himself with collecting the beautiful bon mots Gristle drops lets casually by the way, like so many pellets from an enigmatic Chinese owl with a foot fetish. I fear he’ll become more famous than I am. It’s happened before: I bet you know who Hamlet is, but can you tell me who wrote it? See what I mean?
And then I think: what if Gristle has a blog, a blog that’s smarter, funnier, and more widely read than mine? And what if, in that blog, I’m the star? Who’s the protagonist here? I feel like I’m trapped in Pnin!
(No, I don’t. I don’t think there has ever been a time where that’s an appropriate reference. I cannot imagine a situation where someone says say “I feel like I’m trapped in Pnin!” and everyone listening says, “You know, I was going to compare it to that episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” where the clown dies, but actually Nabokov’s comic novel about a Russian émigré is much more apt,” and then everyone collapses into an orgiastic circle of postmodernist sexual maneuvers*.)
* Self-referential blowjobs, and the like.
No, even though I do not currently feel like the narrator or title character of that fun little novel, I do sometimes fear that I might be the Darth Maul in our particular master-apprentice relationship. (Highbrow to lowbrow transition: managed.)
But then, last week, he sent me his blog. It’s called “Night Rain Gradually Stops.” A recent post includes a poem containing the line “I stand in front of you but you don’t understand I love you.” At the top of the page there’s a picture of him standing in front of Sun Yat-Sen’s tomb. Would I call it a laugh riot? No, no I would not.
And it’s like times like that that I realize, you know what? I am doing some of the work around here.
Anyway, Gristle: I went on a walk with Gristle the other day. (Sometimes we do that: just two guys, getting a walk on, talking about the big issues in life.)
He said: “Jon, I know you might want to live in Germany someday.”
I admitted that, yes, I did.
He said: “Jon, you must be careful. There are old women in Germany who stand by their windows all day and wait for people to have sex on the grass outside.”
“What do they do then?”
“Oh, they just watch. It’s like a pornographic movie for them.”
“So, what are you telling me?”
“I’m saying if you’re in Germany, and you’re having sex outside, don’t do it near any windows.” He paused. “Oh, hey. How do you say 群交 in English?”
“That’s what I thought.”
And then, walk completed, we went our separate ways.