Monday, March 16, 2009


Today is August the second. It’s my birthday. The first signers of the Declaration of Independence put pen to parchment on this day. The first subway opened on this day. Adolf Hilter became Fuhrer on this day. Myrna Loy, Shimon Peres, James Baldwin, Peter O’Toole, and some guy who recited pi to forty-two thousand decimal places from memory were born on this day; Wild Bill Hickok, Enrico Caruso, Fritz Lang, and William S. Burroughs died. Wild Bill was killed while playing poker, which is kind of the way I’d like to go. On this day in 1980, I was born, in Emmaus, Pennsylvania. I’m sixty-one. And absolutely nothing of note has happened on that day since, except Burroughs dying. I take this as an omen that it’s my day. This morning, in Boston, someone set off a series of bombs triggered by communications from a certain server. If you were getting a ping from that server while you were within sniffing distance of one of those bombs, you set it off. Terrorism-wise, that’s good shit. I think it’s been a while since we had a good old terrorist attack in LA, hasn’t it? I mean, you can’t count every random asshole with a racial grudge walking into a McDonald’s and only shooting the blacks or the Iranians or the Salvadorans or the Jews. I mean something that makes the rest of us walk around a little scared because it’s so random yet so purposeful—by which I mean that it’s purposeful but the logic underlying the purpose is inscrutable to rational people—that it makes the entire universe seem a little less stable. We haven’t had one of those lately. But I tell you what, if that Boston thing happened here, it might do the trick.

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