For the first three years of college I lied to my parents, telling them I was in pre-law. When I finally got outed as an English major, my mother couldn’t stop sobbing, and my father strode around the house shouting, “Big man! He knows the parts of speech!” So I wound up homeless, hanging around the airport reciting Rudyard Kipling for spare change. It was there I met a veteran travel writer, who took pity on me and showed me how, by making hotel and restaurant owners naively believe I would write good reviews about them, I could get free rooms, meals, and drinks. So I went on to forge a useless degree into a rewarding lifestyle.
Eventually my travel-writing career stalled because, not liking foreigners or new experiences, I despise traveling. I especially dislike countries that have children. I did, however, like assignments in Holland because the Dutch are funnier than other people when they’re drunk. They climb things for no apparent reason and fall on their heads. I suspect this is because they have to dig up tulip bulbs every fall and replant them in the spring.
Early in my writing career, I met the woman of my dreams. On our second date, when we finished making love, she sighed, “There must be more to life than this.” She bought a travel magazine, pointed to a picture of a hammock strung between palm trees, and said, “Buy it for me.” She meant the Caribbean, not the hammock, because that’s how the woman thinks. If you want a slightly different version, go to her Web site.
I settled down to write novels, where I could make up stuff until I turned blue, and no one could again sue me for libel. However, I soon discovered that fiction writing presents its own challenges—the main one being the strong urge to kill myself.
To stave off artistic depression, I occasionally concentrate on nonwriting endeavors, such as trying to convince my father to make me his sole beneficiary. I spend two days a week being really nice to him, such as paying for lunch, over which I detail my siblings’ plot to steal his money and donate it to liberal causes. He hasn’t been feeling well lately, so I’m optimistic.