Chairman Wow!

September 1, 2009

Your misery = My entertainment

Filed under: math, net, Uncategorized — Carly J Hallman @ 1:15 pm

Yeah, I said it.

I was a dorky kid. I used to hop off the school bus everyday and hungrily pounce upon the cellophane-wrapped newspaper that lay waiting in my parents’ driveway. I’d run inside, throw my backpack down, and eagerly spread open the Life & Arts section on the living room floor. I was indifferent, though, to the concert reviews, the wedding announcements, the TV guide. I wanted one thing, and one thing only: Dear Abby.

Confession: I am nosy.

At the time, I thought it couldn’t get any better than reading a classy lady’s responses to a stranger’s marital problems or etiquette dilemmas.

Now I know better.

Exhibit A: Cary Tennis, Salon.com advice columnist

carytennis

Now, rather than read about pushy mothers-in-law or household budgets, I read about the middle-aged man who became sexually aroused at a Sea World dolphin show…in the company of his children and the estranged wife with whom he was trying to reconcile. Now, rather than read about wedding invitations, I read about the frustrated wife of a man who has gone, “Ahhhhh…” after every sip of every beverage he’s consumed for the past five years. Now, thanks to Cary Tennis, I read some weird stuff.

Tennis is a recovered alcoholic who has, throughout his life, battled with severe bouts of depression. The people who write to Tennis’s column, “Since You Asked” are people who consider themselves far too fucked-up to write into Dear Abby. They are intellectuals, transsexuals, drug addicts, misfits, weirdos, regular Joes. They write to Tennis because they relate to him, his struggles, his disappointment with life– he’s the guy with shifty eyes and wrinkled clothes slouched over his laptop in the corner of the coffee shop. He’s normal. He’s flawed. He’s lonely. He’s trying. Regardless of the outlandishness of the topic at hand, Tennis’s responses are always thoughtful, personal, insightful, witty, and literary. Even when discussing sexysexy dolphins.

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