Monday, April 28, 2008

Books: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers


Dear Dave Eggers:

You don't know me yet, but I'm not ashamed to tell you that I love you, even in front of the entire interweb. You had me at page xxi—that's right, before the "actual" book even began.

Dave Eggers, like you, I have had a tragically privileged life, and I've floundered these past 26 years, looking for someone who can understand me. I had thought it impossible, but you have proven me wrong; you are the one for me. No one else can understand us: the superiority, the violence, the guilt, the self-loathing, the self-aggrandizing, the self-consciousness, the immobilization, the paranoia, the inner narration, the inclination to fantasy, the paranoia, the inevitability of sudden and brutal death, the lust for violent ends, the disgust with the lust, the half-dead shuffling, and the pleasure of throwing things, particularly at the beach.

My heart belongs to you; I may never read another book again. Why bother? No shard of literature, no matter how polished, could reflect me as yours does.

Dave Eggers, do not be afraid. I am not a psychotic stalker. I don't know whether you live in San Francisco (where I grew up, thus finding my excitement exacerbated when your book turned its page to those "construction paper" hills. . . no one has ever said it better), or in New York (where I live now, and where the inside flap does say that you live, although it was written some time ago, and you may, by now, have moved back to California, as we all one day must, or somewhere else, like Bucharest, or Oaxaca, where, supposedly, literary communities of ex-patriots have formed, although I do think you are above being a part of something like that, too mature to "buy in" to ("buy into"?) something like that). I do not know whether you still live with your brother (again, so I'm told by the flap, but the flap was produced eight or more years ago, and a lot can change in eight years (imagine, eight years ago, I lived in San Francisco, a senior in high school, a wearer of flowing, black, "gothic" gowns, wandering Ocean and Baker Beaches—which you yourself had wandered!—but had never heard of you. . . born too late!)); perhaps you are married, or live with a fiancé or a girlfriend (in which case, I would like to immediately direct my apologies to her; love knows no bounds, particularly those of society). If you do not have a wife or a fiancé or a girlfriend, I am more than available to fill that role. My qualifications include practiced skill at dish washing and picking up around the house (I think, based on your confessions, that this would be a great boon to you and young Toph, who probably isn't so very young any more, and might even have a wife, fiancé, or girlfriend of his own). I've only learned how to throw a frisbee last summer, and because of a raging case of bursitis in my right shoulder (there is no visible swelling, but the pain occasionally keeps me up at night), I will not be able to play this game again until, perhaps, next summer (cross your fingers for me, okay?), but like I said, I can do many other things that don't require any torsion of my right arm that would be helpful and pleasant, both around your house, and in your bedroom (it seems as though you need that sort of attention in particular, or at least you did eight or so years ago, and that is one thing that, from experience, doesn't usually change over eight years, unless, of course, you now have a wife or a fiancé or a girlfriend, in which case, again, I apologize).

I am willing to relocate if necessary, although Chicago is out of the question (too cold; I'm certain you agree, in spite of any fond childhood memories you may have).

Dave Eggers, I await your response, in the form of one dozen long stem white roses and a red Toyota Prius Micro Machine, with bated breath, knowing full well that you are a "pe[rson] or entit[y] who [is] not likely to respond." No matter. To die, having found you, sought you, and confessed my love to all the interweb, is enough. Better, at least, than to have married some wealthy, attractive man, had four children, kept my figure, eaten cake for 88 birthdays, and passed silently during an afternoon nap in the hammock while summering in the Hamptons, never knowing that you were out there, the one for me.

Dave Eggers, I am so excited, and so grateful. Do not keep me waiting long.

Dahl Haus

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