Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Venus of Laplace

I’m waiting for the bathroom to empty of roommates so I can shower and a.) give some humor samples to a guy at Comedy Central who requested them (thanks, Julianna!) and b.) start knocking on publishing house doors looking for contacts. Not subtle, but that’s what it’s come to.

At any rate, since I have a few moments, I felt I ought to share yet another strange moment from my journey across the country last summer.

I was driving through Louisiana and had stopped at a very small town to get gas. The town, though tiny, was actually kind of busy, because it was right off the interstate and I pulled in at noon, so there were actually cars backed up in about four different directions, not including the turn-off at the gas station, which was poorly placed. (I had to take a left at the light, and then cross in front of the perpendicular traffic because as soon as I turned I saw that a standard left didn’t lead to the gas station I needed. So my turn was not a 90 degree angle, but a little more scrunched and probably illegal.)

Anyway, while I was paying for my gas inside, I heard a squeal and a crunching bang, and when I came out to look, there was a car accident right in the gas station parking lot. A big shiny new SUV (boo! hiss!) had turned too fast or too impatiently or something—it was a crappy intersection—and had smashed into a tiny old Gremlin containing two fat Hispanic-looking women. The older woman, who looked about seventy, was the driver, and she sat in the front seat with a large piece of glass in her neck and blood pouring down the front of her dress. She was alive, and clearly breathing, but she obviously needed to get to a hospital. The other woman—her daughter, around fifty—was outside the car, running around, clearly frantic. The SUV, I’m sorry to say, was being driven by a late-twenties/early-thirties young man in the carefully-pressed plaid-and-visor of a yuppie on vacation. But that’s not the point—although it’s funny how these cliches mount up when you don’t expect them to. The point is that in a few minutes the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department showed up to help. That’s how small this town was—the nearest big Fire Department was a volunteer unit in LaPlace (pop. 26,000), one county over. (Though I must say that, for a volunteer department, they seemed to know what they were doing and had great equipment.)

You know that moment in any movie where some crisis happens in some rural area, the police car speeds to the scene, stops . . . and out steps Charlize Theron! And you think, “What the hell is Charlize Theron doing here? No one that good looking lives in a town this small. Suddenly this movie seems implausible.” Well, as soon as the ambulance drove up, out walked this leggy redhead of such stunning competence and togetherness that I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t take any pictures of the accident—that would have felt ghoulish—but I snapped a few surreptitious photos of Improbably Sexy Redheaded Nurse, and this is the best one.

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I realize she may not seem all that stunning after my build-up, but trust me: after driving through small towns, seeing one morbidly obese, ragged, toothless gal after another, this woman was like a walking miracle. And of course, I’m a big fan of smart, competent redheads with determined-looking chins. Enjoy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got your email. Good luck in NY
I added you on myspace and I'll be reading your blog

Former Student
CJ Knipper from fall 03

4/11/2006 12:52 PM  

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