Dread as a Way of Life

Patty Marx and Daniel Menaker

Dread as a Way of Life

Patty Marx and Daniel Menaker

Dread as a Way of Life
An email conversation about the news of the day.
May 11 1999 3:36 PM

Patty Marx and Daniel Menaker

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You ask, dear Dan, how I slept last night? I made some mistakes. My form was bad, too. I'm not a very good sleeper. I brag that I need only four hours of sleep a night, but in fact, I am tired all day, a state of being which makes me feel like I've accomplished something. I should talk to an analyst about this. I could talk to mine, I suppose, but it's too personal. Anyway, I plan to sleep flawlessly tonight. And without taking sleeping pills. I believe taking sleeping pills is a form of cheating, like using steroids to compete in the Olympics. I hope you don't use sleeping pills; but if you do, know that everyone I know and respect does; and that I will still like you. In fact, I will even give you a never-opened vial of prescription sleeping pills that recently came into my possession (a long story). Let's be the first Breakfast Table with drugs on the table.

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You also ask if I personally know any of the parties in the Barkin/Perelman affair. No. That's why I can so cavalierly sling obloquy about them. However, here's a story about a celebrity I do know, but unfortunately cannot name. I was in L.A. last week, staying at the home of the unnamed celebrity, who happens to be very fastidious and was on Saturday Night Live and has gray hair. I flushed the toilet, and before I could say, "I want to die!" water gushed out of the toilet bowl and the bottom of the toilet. In seconds, the bathroom was flooded and water was heading toward the sisal in the bedroom and the magnificent art collection. I ran into the kitchen and hysterically asked the cook what to do. He had no idea. He's a cook, after all. Eventually, the problem was solved with towels from the pool house. This is the first and I hope last time I have a problem that can be solved with towels from the pool house.

The story in the "Science Times" about beetles having built-in fire detectors sounds interesting, though I haven't yet read it. (Ever since I took on this job to comment on the news, I haven't had time to read the news.) Wouldn't it be nice to have a built-in detector that lets you know at parties when you are about to make contact with an accountant who wants to be a theater director? Which brings me to your question about how my event last night was. Actually, it was better than I expected. Then again, what isn't? Dreading everything turns out to be a pleasant approach to life.

Philosphically yours,
Patty

Daniel Menaker is a senior literary editor at Random House and author of The Treatment (click here to buy the book) and two collections of short stories. Patty Marx writes comedy for movies, television, and print. Her most recent books are Meet My Staff (click here to buy the book), a children's book illustrated by Roz Chast, and The Skinny (click here to buy the book) written with Susan Sistrom.