I DESPISE Steve Almond *. I met the guy briefly at Sewanee Writers Conference a few years ago. He was walking around in a dirty undershirt and Dockers, reading his dick-lit and getting googly eyes from the editor of StoryQuarterly. I, a lowly, and rarely sober, newcomer introduced myself over the chex mix (love some chex mix) at the French House. “Did you do something different?” I asked. What I wanted to say was, “It’s been a week and now suddenly you look clean.” Without names being exchanged, he said, “I just trimmed my pubic hair.” Then he took some chex mix, and I am not surprised if he picked out the bagel chips that I lust for.
Then I get home and the guy pops up everywhere. Never heard of him and here he is in every “Poets and Writers”, every anthology, lit. mag and book store. “I know this guy,” I wanted to say to innocent book shoppers. But then really, all I knew is the pubic hair and chex mix tidbits and “knowing” was a far stretch.
Then here he comes through TN, reading at Davis Kidd bookstore. I drag my husband, who actually likes his writing. There he is in a slightly clean undershirt and Dockers, a flannel shirt thrown over for evening. The funny thing was that the audience was this family after-this-we’re-going-to-Disney-On-Ice crowd. I could see him squirm as the curse words got stuck in his front teeth and he had to swallow.
Then, since he was hawking Candyfreak, he passed out Goo-Goo Clusters. Long story, but Steve broke through bestseller lists eating chocolate one summer. So I take one. ONE. I could have gotten that little log roll or the plain Goo-Goo, but I got the one with some kind of demonic nut.
So here this guy is everywhere, no agent, no dress sense and I’m sitting thinking, how did this guy wheedle his way into my life, my conferences, my reading and my beloved Davis Kidd? I had to walk away. When I told him bye, he held it in, but I think he felt it.
So then I ate the Goo-Goo and broke my tooth. My f@#$%^ tooth. $700. Two visits. Still sensitive. Plus it broke my 14 year ban on dentists, who I think are just scrub-wearing ceramic salesmen.
So, obviously, I think he owes me something. Inclusion in some crazy anthology someone’s letting him edit. A candy kickback.
But it’s not enough. I want my time in the sun. I want to grab a little Almond cyberspace. So Steve, I’m sending this to you and am giving you a week to get me on Salon.com. I know you are into threesomes.
* No response to this blog will force me to change it to "hate."