Thursday, June 18, 2009

The End is Near

The incomparable Nicole Hollander--cartoonist, performance artist, social commentator--occasionally does a strip in which the devil tells someone how they're going to meet their end--usually in an embarrassing or banal fashion. The person tries to negotiate upward to look more heroic, but the devil always has the last word.

I thought of Nicole's devil yesterday on Lake Shore Drive. I was almost side-swiped by a guy in a Cadillac and when I had moved out of his way, I saw he was texting or Twittering, not looking at the road but at the phone he had propped on the steering wheel. What a way to meet my end, I thought (bitterly--for those who can handle adverbs). A mile further on I had to take evasive action again. This time, it was a woman in an SUV who had a magazine open on her steering wheel. And I thought--if I have to go, please let it be at the hands of someone engrossed in print media.

Someone asked me the other day what I thought of e-books, and I said they're like handguns --I'm against them, but they're a phenomenon of the culture, we have to learn to live with them. I imagine the devil listening in on that thought: I'll die crossing the road to snatch a Kindle out of a child's hand to replace it with a book. I won't be hit by a car--it'll be the angry kid throwing the book at me and catching me on the temple.

By the way, you can read Nicole's Sylvia every day in the Chicago Tribune, or go to Women's e-news if your local paper no longer exists.

Sara Paretsky


Michael Dymmoch said...

Good points, Sara.

My sister gets rabid at the mention of red light cameras; I love them. Anything that calls drivers to attention, I'm for. And you don't have to be a genius to avoid getting caught.

Libby Hellmann said...

Oh boy, can I relate. I'm appalled at the stuff people do instead of drive.. didnt a woman cofness to doing her hair when she ran over a young boy last month?

Also not sure about ebooks and Kindles. I still can't wrap my head around the idea that I have to buy stock in Everready or Duracell in order to read a book.

Bah. Humbug.