Name Four Things We Don't Have Time For

Patty Marx and Daniel Menaker

Name Four Things We Don't Have Time For

Patty Marx and Daniel Menaker

Name Four Things We Don't Have Time For
An email conversation about the news of the day.
May 12 1999 6:16 PM

Patty Marx and Daniel Menaker

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We don't have time for guilt? That's a great motel line, if ever I heard one, which of course I haven't, not knowing anything about motels, lines, or greatness. However electronically and subliminally, our relationship is rushing forward to a climactic, or in my case climacteric, point, I can tell, and all poignantly, and just as you do, I can feel our time together drawing to a close. But still, isn't there always time for guilt? My parents certainly seemed to think so. So, à la John Cage, a character in one of my um, guiltiest pleasures, Ally McBeal, let's take a second or two here for guilt.

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OK. On to the rest of your breathless and impassioned missive. Being a Princeton Review kind of guy--you don't have to know much about the subject, just know a lot about how to take the test--I'll bite: All the countries is what we bombed, none of them is the number that have decent governments. Am I right? That makes us as effective in the goals of our bombing as Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski were in theirs. So do I get an 800 on this test? And, speaking of numbers, do you mean that we get from Slate the $5.50 each that the SAG ethnic Albanians got, according to Moron Galactic, or whatever his name is, or are Kinsley and Gates, or whatever their names are, going to pony up for each of us the more appropriate 3,000 to 4,000 times $5.50 that the eth-albs got as a group? Fill in the correct oval completely with a No. 2 pencil: 0: $5.50 each. 0: big bux.

I shall read Weiss's piece, as soon as this onerous assignment begins to let us up, but in the meantime you should know that rivetting is an adjective that has now been copyrighted by Bertelsmann for Random House flap-copy use only; everyone else who uses it in any other way must pay Bertelsmann $5.50 for each appearance. There is so much rivetting going on in recent flap copy and catalogue copy in publishing that shipbuilding has experienced a drastic slow down.

I shall also check out Page l7 of People and Carolyn Bessette's cervical adornment (it means "neck," I swear), and I'll get back to you, I swear, unless our checkout time comes first, but in the meantime, again, I do subscribe to People and am proud to do so. No room for guilt here. How do you think I first ran across C Z-J? And I'll do anything for a laugh, too, even lie, just like you, because the truth is that I first ran across C Z-J not in People (one of the very few magazines--another is, of course, Slate--that never tries to be what it isn't) but very late in the game, during the Oscars, in her stunning red dress.

If we don't have time for guilt, how about a little regret, at least? I know we have a whole nother day, but when I was a freshman in college I started immediately feeling regretful about all the things I was not going to get around to doing before my graduation.

Until tomorrow.

P.S.: If you won't make any predictions--there's precious little time left for that, as well--at least make up some funny Serbian names. Boron Lactic, Gabardine Frantic, Vapid Philosovic, I. P. Daleyvic.

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.