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!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

That Sucking Sound You Hear...

...Is Sudafed draining all the fluid from my body--and with it, a good part of my elan vital. It's the tradeoff I make for breathing.

It seems like my recalcitrant body is always looking for an excuse to generate histamine. Yesterday it was tree nuts; the day before it was mold. Today it's pollen. If it were possible to be allergic to your own saliva, my vengeance-seeking body would find a way.

This has traditionally been a deadly time of year for me: this and early fall. In both seasons, I've traditionally wound up with a nerve-rending cough that causes even passersby in cars to start with alarm. It rears way back, calls emergency meetings to get every vocal cord involved, and then launches an IPO that makes banner headlines in second coming type. (Plays hell with my metaphors, too.) Every job I've ever held, every school I've ever attended, I've had teachers, office managers, and lookers-on overhear me (sometimes for hours), blanch, and say, "You should go home." To which I always have to reply, "There's no point. It'll be like this for weeks."

It generally starts like it did today: I wake up feeling like I've been pummeled, and every muscle in my body aches whenever I move it. I move slowly and timidly, so that you might think I have a hangover. It feels, in fact, almost exactly like the flu. But then a day passes and I can move around again...but some fluid or other has gotten into my lungs, and keeps sneaking back in no matter how I try. Those of you who are merely reading this are lucky: the joy of writing is that anyone in whatever shape can still, in sentences, feel like they're bounding around sprightlily on the page. In person, I'm a swollen, congested wreck. I suspect I even smell like--well, not like death, but perhaps like death's breakfast nook. Not unbearable, but why go there at all?

Normally I'd go to a doctor, but of course at the moment I have no money and no insurance. By the time both of these factors have changed, I'll probably be over the worst of it. (Though if blooming things are the problem, I imagine the Berkshires of May will take me from grim to grimmer.) So in the meantime I'm just doing my best, like a Civil War commander: I never remember what worked (or worked well enough) last time, so I'm just buying the whole set, and hurling them one at a time, crossing my fingers with increasing seperation: "On, Loratadine! On, Actifed! On, Claritin and Benadryl!" And then I watch as they get chewed up by the cannons.

I think Sudafed is going to do journeyperson's work on me, but I won't know for sure until tomorrow when the aching subsides and the threat of real coughing begins. In the meantime, I just wanted you to know that if my postings seem sluggish or if I don't get around to a few, I blame the pharmaceutical industry and their loose definition of "Non-Drowsy."

Oh! And one more thing: In the past, every time I've been improving my health--workouts, diets, etc.--I always get hit with an allergy attack (or the flu, if God is particularly vengeful), and I fall off the routine. This time around, because my life as a writer is less stressful than it it ever was as an office worker/commuter, I have every hope that I will finally be able to do something I've never managed in my life: exercise while on Sudafed! I even have motivation: not only have several attractive women commented on my healthy weight loss, but I went shopping for jeans yesterday and discovered that I have a plausibly 34 waist for the first time in years. I could almost work in Japan! Since 35 waists are incredibly difficult to find, having and maintaining a 34 will simplify my life immensely. Plus, of course, it's healthier.

By the way, in my shopping, I discovered something kind of alarming: I have no idea what kinds of pants make my butt look nice. I tried on pair after pair and thought, "Is it supposed to be that flat? Is it possible to hug too much?" I just knew I was one impulse buy away from an expensive faux pas on par with pleated fronts. (I thought pleats and flat fronts were two neutral and equal options, pants-wise. Turns out that the fashion advisors all think pleats are AWFUL. You may as well wear a sign that says "revile my taste in public.") In fear, I walked away without purchasing a thing.

So I'm actually looking for some woman with taste--presumably one who actually likes me and wants me to do well in life--to help me buy pants, possibly in the upcoming week. It will involve looking at my ass, and you'll have to sign a waiver relieving me of any resposibility that might accrue if you become overwhelmed by my manliness and start losing sleep. But you'll be doing me--and, really, certain entire parts of Manhattan--a huge favor. I take email.

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2 Comments:

OpenID toonhead-npl said...

Women shmimmen surely there's some gay guy around who dresses well and has impeccable taste to do the job for you. Those Queer Eye guys gotta be looking for work.

4/26/2008 5:06 PM  
Blogger Cowboy Dave Dickerson said...

My gay coterie has basically moved out of town. The only guy I can think of offhand is Jeffurry, who I absolutely adore, but who I think we can both agree is not a fashion queen. I need a non-bear.

Good point about Queer Eye though. I bet Jai in particular is not busy at all.

4/26/2008 6:08 PM  

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