I had it when I left New York. Of course that was a long time ago, 48 years ago to be exact (being exact is, by the way, highly overrated).
When I moved to Massachusetts I took it off. Actually it just fell off by its own accord. But I picked it up and put it aside. First on the dresser in my apartment in Cambridge, later in my basement in my first apartment, then in a clearly marked box in a series of houses, ready to be reclaimed or at least remembered.
Now, however, over this past weekend, I went looking for it but I just cannot find it. Anywhere. Have you seen it, perchance?
Why did I go looking? Thought you would never ask.
Each week I get my “The” New Yorker magazine and I read it or pretend to read it. But it has been getting harder and harder and, truth be told, this last issue wholly eluded me. When living in New York City, even as a teen and college student, mojo insouciantly draped over my shoulders, I would flip through the magazine to guffaw at the cartoons, then go back and read the articles, or at least most of them, and even try the poems if they weren’t too long.
So Saturday morning I took the new issue and started flipping. I ignored the loose reply mail subscription cards that fluttered down at my feet. Starting at the back (easier to flip that way, and the cartoon don’t require a front-to-back sequence), I began reading. Could not understand the humor in a single one. Not one. Tried again for irony, the new vocabulary of a jaded age. No resonance there. A third read for mere cleverness, a grin-inducing perception—nada.
*people on a subway platform hear a loud speaker announcement saying “Due to an incident at the Bergen Street station, everything has changed and nothing will ever be the same.”
*four men dancing ballet in tutus turn to one man dancing in a suit: “Damn it, Hollister, you’re totally ruining casual Friday.”
*man at computer to his wife looking over his shoulder: “I’m too busy recommending things to experience them for myself.”
*one bowler to another: “You’ve got to learn how to bowl without irony.”
As for the articles? Try these scintillating topics:
*Hunting Horsetails (about the New York Fern Society).
*Summer Fun for Boys (begins “You’re gifted, you’re pudgy and you’re nine.”)
*Reverting to a Wild State (a piece of fiction illustrated by a man with 6-pack abs wearing Jockey shorts).
And why are there full-page ads for electrical and natural gas power grids? When was the last time a reader bought a power grid?
Is it the magazine or me? I must believe in my heart of hearts that the professionals who produce the magazine—this is THE New Yorker, for Godssake, not Mad, not that most useless of all publications the scrap paper packaged as the magazine “Boston”—still had their totally cool finger on the wry experiences, the anomalies for which New Yorkers are ever attuned and which are recorded faithfully and promptly in their eponymous magazine.
It’s gotta be me. I gotta get my New York edge back. I need my mojo. I haven’t much needed it in Boston; you need none in the suburbs of course, and being an attorney is not so much a matter of mojo as it is a drill in chutzpah.
So I went through my basement. I went through my attic. I went through my memory. I am not lying, I am telling you it is lost. Gone. No clue, no resinous residue of remembrance where it once resided. Just plain lost in time.
I threw out the magazine. I feel better.