February 22, 2019

Excerpts from the Book That Man Is Reading on the Subway


Welcome, Bearded Man with a Slouchy Beanie Riding the Subway. You are reading me, a book. I am the reason that everyone in this train car is looking at you. They are curious—a young man reading a book, in this day and age? He must have a good heart, they think. Your literary fluency is attractive, they decide. They imagine that you will sweep them off their feet with poems about soft lips, though, in reality, you haven’t brushed your teeth for longer than forty seconds since high school. If only they knew that you were reading this book, a placeholder book, to convince other people that you are reading.

Chapter 1: A Celebration Is in Order

You’ve made it to the first chapter, which means that you’ve turned one page. Time to celebrate this lofty achievement.

Chapter 4: A Good Chuckle on Behalf of the Fools

Ha! Despite this current attempt to gain the respect of commuting strangers, in your regular life, you are barely able to string a sentence together without betraying your stupidity. Most of what you say are the regurgitated opinions of your co-worker (and longtime Frisbee enthusiast) Benj. But no one on this train needs to know that. Here, you are the man who knows how to enjoy literature and probably loves his mother a lot, but not too much.

Chapter 7: You Are Getting Away with This

Blah blah blah blah. See? You’re technically reading! Who needs real books, anyway, now that you’ve got this meta book that’s convincing everyone that you’re on a quest to find the perfect tree trunk to lean up against? Sure, the truth is that you haven’t done laundry in two months because “the bank is far and no one else has quarters.” But forget that! You are getting away with this whole book thing. Maybe you should be a professor. A books professor.”

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