It Must Have Been Something I Ate

16 December 2007 · 1 comment

Busy busy busy. We are busy.

Yesterday morning, book group met to discuss The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is not a good book. Gilbert has a strong, confident style, but she’s just a little too glib. Some might consider her twee. Worse, her subject is not worthy of a book-length exploration.

In The Last American Man, Gilbert writes about Eustace Conway, a real-life mountain man of the Daniel Boone and Davey Crockett mold. Eustace lives in a teepee (or used to, anyhow), eats roadkill (or used to, anyhow), and runs a sort of wilderness camp in North Carolina.

The problem is that we, the readers, are supposed to sympathize with Eustace. We’re supposed to admire him. Gilbert clearly does. She provides a chapter on his downsides, but they’re always filtered through her rose-colored glasses. But it’s hard to admire a man who comes across as a complete jerk. His attitude is always “my way or the highway”. He doesn’t trust anyone. He believes his is the only right way to do things, and is unwilling to let others learn from their own mistakes. He’s authoritarian. He’s callous. He’s not a sympathetic figure.

Despite the lousy man and the lousy book, we had a fantastic book group discussion — probably our best in months. Our discussion ranged from parenting to life skills to American history to our possible futures. Through it all, we touched on a number of books we’ve read in the past. It was great.

In the evening, we attended Kris’ office party. This, too, was fun. I used to be uncomfortable at these sorts of gatherings, but I know enough of Kris’ little friends (and their spouses) that I can have a good time. Plus, the highlight every year is the two-hour-long White Elephant gift exchange.

When Rhonda and Mike dropped us off from the Christmas party, they came in for some late-night Dance Dance Revolution. We spent an hour stomping and flailing. DDR is a great game, though it proved just how out of shape I was. Plus, as we were dancing, I became nauseated. I’d been feeling sick ever since dinner, and the exercise just made it worse.

It took me over an hour to fall asleep — I was trying not to be sick.

Today we drove to Jeff and Steph’s for our family Christmas. This, too, was fun, are would have been except that I was miserable most of the time. Kris and I left early.

I’ve spent the afternoon doing nothing. (Well, that’s not true. I’ve been writing. Always writing.) I just tried to have a bite to eat, but my stomach has rebelled. I’m not sure what’s wrong. Near as I can figure, I must have had something “off” at the Christmas party.

In any event, I have a busy week ahead of me. But once this is over, I think I can have some time to relax! I’m looking forward to it…

1 Lisa December 17, 2007 at 14:04

How are you feeling, J.D.? I hear word of a sneaky stomach flu going around with a surprisingly long incubation period.

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