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Headshots: Let’s Read and Then Get Naked!

ON SATURDAY LAST, the Headshots crew (myself, my editor, a Pomeranian named Suzee, and 10 unpaid interns) had a staff outing. We started the beautiful day with sausages, rashers, toast, beans, and black and white puddings, washed down with Guinness and Jameson. We followed this up with a long and arduous pub crawl that covered 3 cities in two time zones, racked $12,304.32 in expenses, and suffered one ruptured spleen. One of the interns died. Or got fired. Another became pregnant. Or got fired. We had planned a fourth city, but suffering from inebriation we cut our day short.

And why, you may ask, did 12 intrepid publishing types and an incontinent, undersized pup destroy their livers and a Saturday while spending an amount that exceeded what we paid for our first car? Well, June 16th was Bloomsday, a commemoration and celebration of the life of Irish writer James Joyce during which the events of his novel Ulysses are relived. Because, we need an excuse to get silly on stout and whiskey.

Headshots, eager for other literary excursions, figured it was time to consider a few other works of fiction that should have days, and how they would be feted.

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson

This seems like an obvious choice, maybe even cliché. But, is there anything more cliché than a few single buddies heading to Vegas for a few days to get blackout sloppy and waste money on excess and sin? Why not do it with a literary bend, an educated quality, one that gives such a roadtrip an air of sophistication. And why not do it on the same day as 1000s of others, all renting 70s era convertibles and speeding up through Barstow to Sin City? We’ll make it July 18, Thompson’s birthday. It might make Vegas interesting again, at least once a year, taking it back from the frat boy and Midwestern family scene that it has become.

2. The Bible, by God

The Bible is one of Headshots’ favorite books, and one that oddly enough doesn’t have its own day. Oh, sure there’s Christmas, but that’s an appropriated pagan holiday that the Christians stole to sell toys and give robust alcoholic men with white beards jobs in December. And Easter, well, c’mon. That’s the chocolate egg and rabbit lobby at work.

First, we’ll need a day. February 14 would be perfect because Valentine’s Day sucks and there are a lot more fans of The Bible than couples making last minute reservations at the Olive Garden to remind each other ho much they wish they were with other people. The day would be spent making wine, walking on water, oppressing minorities and women, having hallucinations, eating unleavened breads, parting seas, and starting armed conflicts in Middle Eastern countries.

Oh, and they’ll be cake.

3. The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen

Corrections Day will be celebrated on August 27, and in the spirit of overrated and overexposed writer Jonathan Franzen, will consist of a full day of events and being as much of an asshole as possible to other people as possible.

It’ll begin with a burning of Oprah in effigy, followed by a family breakfast with no bacon. The day continues by eschewing all modern conveniences and technological advances. In the early evening, there will be an hour of hypocrisy, where everything beneficial to our lives will be shunned and mocked. At 8 pm, there will be a worldwide broadcast reading of the novel by Franzen himself, who will do so in a snide and condescending fashion.

And, again, cake.

4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James

Just kidding. No one should read this nonsense. It’s an insult to trees and the literate. Seriously, someone show these housewives where the porn is on the Internet. And then give them a real book. Like…

5. A Good Man is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor

Challenge accepted, O’Connor. Flannery Day, to be feted on September 10, not because of anything to do with the classic collection of Southern Gothic, or O’Connor herself, but that’s the day Headshots’ ex-wife finally found herself a good man.

In that spirit, Flannery Day will be spent searching high and low for good men. Those celebrating the day will begin at a diner, and continue their day in an unreliable automobile. Each will need to be at some point in the day baptized, buy a hermaphrodite groceries, read a passage from the Book of Daniel, and as the day comes to a close experience some sort of spiritual change.

There were a few other works submitted by Headshots staff for consideration, but none seemed worthy of a day unto themselves.

Incidentally, if anyone in Austin, Texas, comes across a lost intern who reeks of stout and is clutching a Mac Book Pro while uttering incoherent babble about stipends, grad school, and posting pornography, please contact the Headshots offices ASAP.

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Mike Spry is the author of JACK (Snare Books, 2008), which was shortlisted for the 2009 Quebec Writers’ Federation A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry, and he was longlisted for the 2010 Journey Prize. His most recent work is Distillery Songs (Insomniac Press, 2011).

Illustration by Lasse Mathiesen Køhlert. Check out the Danish artist’s work here and here.

Related on The Smoking Jacket:
Headshots: Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!
Headshots: Let’s Blow This Fascist Popsicle Stand
Headshots: Strange Bed Etiquette: 5 Rules of Engagement 

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