Volume 74, Number 34 | December 29 - January 04, 2004


Things to do in 2005

By Andrei Codrescu
Learn how to use a shortwave radio. I got a Mini 300PE Grundig AM/FM shortwave radio for Christmas. I can now pick up Radio Bucharest from my cave and fulfill my longstanding fantasy of discovering other human beings in my predicament. In my 2005 edition to “Passport to World Band Radio,” for instance, I see a wickedly-smiling elder in his tropical backyard in Barbados, eavesdropping on something taking place in a corporate boardroom in Stockholm. That could be me. The thing is, the Internet notwithstanding, the pleasures of shortwave, like the delights of orchid-growing, are only possible the old-fashioned way.

Learn how to use the Bushnell binocular-camera I also got for Christmas. This is embarrassing, but I always fantasized about uncovering a crime through use of long-range lenses and photographing the evidence. I saw both versions of “Blow Up” three times. Failing that, I’d like to see what goes on behind those huge 65th floor windows on Lexington Ave. in New York, and bring back pictures for my people in the plains. Recently, one of my associates brought back from a Bulgarian beach photographic evidence of the extraordinary transformation of the Bulgarian body under capitalism. Only 15 years have passed since the collapse of Communism, and the 15-to-19-year-old Bulgarian body has undergone a miraculous Vogue-like flowering. This is something that must be seen to be believed.

Lose 15 pounds. This needs no explanation, but there has been this continual intake of food that translates substantially. I’ll become more spiritual and run around a lot until I reach the saintly but muscular shape of St. Francis (the later depictions).

Make more money. This may not be an appropriate wish to confess publicly, but I feel that my talents are worth at least one fraction of those of Mr. Vick, a footballer who will get $100 million in the next 10 years if he keeps doing what he’s doing. Also, the L.S.U. football coach, Mr. Saban, who stood there thinking for a whole week about whether $ 4 million a year was or wasn’t enough for him to sever his (oh, so emotional ties!) with L.S.U., and then keep doing what he’s been doing. In light of these developments, I’m asking for a raise from this media outlet that matches what I would make if life was fair. Failing that, I want another $100 a week. And I promise to keep doing what I’ve been doing.

Learn to type with at least four fingers. Part of the reason why I should be paid more is that I do all this work with one finger. This is the same finger I write novels, long essays and screenplays with. (Poetry I write with blood on a thin sheet of leper-paper.) This is like paying a Vick or a Saban to do what they do blindfolded. I’m therefore that much more remunerable.

Read all the books people I know and people I don’t know sent me. This is a 10-year project. We start now, with “Spots and Trouble Spots,” by Carol Treadwell, a very intelligent and sexy novel written by someone reasonably young (I think), and published by a press so small it’s virtually nonexistent. Or we could (but won’t) plunge right into “Contemporary Jewish Writing from Hungary: An Anthology.”

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