Dave Eggers
A weeklong electronic journal.
Dec. 15 1999 9:00 PM

Dave Eggers


1:46 a.m. The reason I am mentioning the police officer who was standing in the middle of the tiny convenience store reading a magazine called Horny is that I care. Someone must care about this police officer, whose name was not apparent on his badge or name tag but who we will call Jonah, because if we do not care about this officer no one will care, and he will fall through a hole created by our lack of concern. Someone must care for Jonah, just as someone must care that there are always three or four squad cars at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Ninth Street at all hours of the day and night, and someone must begin to wonder why this is. Yes, there is Smiling Pizza, which is a very valid reason to be parked at this corner, as their pizza is very pizza-like and can be eaten with one's hands and mouth. And there is the diner, which offers decent food for staying or for going, not to mention pastries. And there is this convenience store, where, just a few minutes ago, the policeman was standing, right in the middle of the small and otherwise empty convenience store, reading Horny, which is a magazine of sexual (and probably graphically so) content. His shoes were well-shined, this police officer's were, and he seemed deeply engrossed in the pages of Horny, so much so that when someone else (your narrator) walked in, the officer did not move or alter his Horny-reading ways (to interrupt for a brief second here: Why do you suppose that, given all the money and wonderful minds that are being spent on the exploitation and improvement of this electronic medium, the Web, which you enjoy and I enjoy, we still cannot create adequate italics? Why must they look like they look above, each and every time we want to write something in italics, like for instance this word: Horny? There we go again. Not italics at all really--they're merely roman letters set at a 45-degree angle, and always with that extra space afterward, which looks ridiculous, like the result of a sticky key on a typewriter. Is not that a chief problem with the medium generally, the chintziness that has yet to be shaken from its most basic elements, like its italics, and its banners, and, worse yet, its flashing banners? Is it not odd that here, on this site and others, where we gather so many of our best thinkers and writers to be doing all this very nice thinking and writing, they should be surrounded by this, all these many intractable flaws, which surely ought to be corrected if ever the medium will?) So anyway, the Horny-reading cop: After my young roommate (see Monday's entry) was told about the Horny-reading officer, he noted that of all the sexy kinds of magazines one could pick up and peruse in a public place, Horny would surely have to be one of the more embarrassing, given that it offered a description of the pick-and-peruser that could reasonably be considered unflattering. If you are reading Horny, his reasoning was, then you must be. And for him, this sort of self-evident randiness was the source of the embarrassment. And here what do we have? Here we have the Puritanism of the young. Is anyone talking about the Puritanism of the young? Someone should be talking about this. Who is more pure than the young who are pure and know it? Who can more cruelly look into and then sneer at and then look away from the policeman with his Horny than the young man who, though 20 years his junior, is taller than him by six inches and who knows more of the newest bands, and who cannot imagine that ever will come the day when he will be in the convenience store located at Seventh Avenue and Ninth Street, standing penguin-toed on the white tile, his eyes upon pages 34-35 of Horny. Oh, it tastes so good, that kind of purity-leverage, though of course it does not last.

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