I needed something to read. As we prepared to board the plane to Orlando, we stepped inside the airport bookstore. I scanned the rows of paperback books for one I might like to read.
Uninterested at this corner, I next turned to the magazines. Certainly I could find one to occupy me for the duration of the flight.
Time... US News... no. Not likely to provide additional information or insight than Newsweek, to which we already subscribe.
Given my recent phase of patronage of ESPN talk radio, Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News were unlikely to go above or beyond what I'd already absorbed in the sporting realm.
I briefly considered, then rejected Reader's Digest and a book of crossword puzzles. Cosmo, Elle, US Weekly, Entertainment also not deemed viable options.
Finally, my attention turned to the rack I normally avoid... the row of magazines reserved for those far more intelligent and important than myself. Heart racing, in a fit of motivation to improve myself, I purposefully grabbed and purchased The New Yorker and Atlantic Monthly.
A bit of background. In my college days, there was one among our group of friends who rose above the lowbrow molecular biology and history textbooks to which the rest of us were accustomed. In addition to his sophisticated literature texts, he read The New Yorker (the first 'r' is silent). The rest of the group (excluding myself) chided him for thinking himself superior to the group. He faced the abuse head on, and I knew why... because he knew it was true... he was in fact superior to this mob, due in no small part, to his faithful reading of the New Yorker. I watched him, coolly composed, and the monkeys dancing around him, and I thought to myself, "I want what he has." But I still wasn't willing to endure his cross or scorn their shame.
Until now. In the relative anonymity of an airport bookstore, I summoned the courage to better myself.
Over the past several days, I have immersed myself in the wonderful elite world of those in the know and with the correct opinions about politics, music, the cinema, culture, and the sciences. As I made my wayward and twisted route from one cover to the other, I felt my sophistication and status rising with each page.
Inspired by my important and well-read college compatriot, The New Yorker was my Mt. Everest. I would scale the intellectual heights so that I could finally intelligibly communicate with him who was chastised by his ignorant counterparts.
Each evening, I have basked in the bubbling hot tub, glass of wine in one hand, intellectual sustenance in the other. I giggled knowingly at the cartoons, those visual puns, dotting the pages. I sighed reflectively as I perused the poetry. And, most importantly, I have absorbed the content, assimilating the opinions of the intelligentsia into my own cerebral framework, making the ideas of the elite my own.
I now know which movies to see and which to avoid. I rejoice giddily over the recent democratic electoral victory. I am aware of a charming fellow who talks to turkeys. I ponder the traditional storytelling methods of the Indian bhopas. I can wax eloquent on the effects of global warming on the planet's oceans. I can now authoritatively (and gleefully) describe the fall of Rumsfeld.
I have finished The New Yorker (and am just now beginning to approach The Atlantic). I feel as though I've acquired a heightened sense of awareness and importance. Yes, I am joining my college friend in the ranks of the elite... and I like it.
Inspirational, elite college compadre, you know who you are. I hope you will accept me into your caste of the knowing. I hope that I have not signed up too late.
Originally Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2006
(Then) Curent Mood: smug