Reviewing 11 years of Writing Boots posts to compile my new book An Effort to Understand—which I hope you pre-order right now because your doing so will further titillate publishers who have already expressed interest, and you'll be rewarded with a signed copy when the book comes out—I ran across some interesting pieces that didn't fit the theme. Like this one, from the dark, cold month of January, 2009. —DM
The speechwriter's "retirement" party last night was at the Billy Goat Tavern. The beers weren't cutting the sadness, so I left after three.
I'll just say this: It takes an awfully peculiar sort of person—funny and nutty and witty and wise, not too ambitious, not at all lazy, passionate here, dispassionate there, intellectual and well read but self-deprecating, just this much and this kind of ego—to actually enjoy the inherently absurd job of helping institutions communicate.
And when a person achieves and sustains that kind of profound mutation and makes it look natural—well, he ought to have his job as long as he wants it, if you ask me.
And even as he laughed at the satirically mocked-up, framed Vital Speeches cover his colleagues gave him, even as he recounted his layoff by reading aloud his personal version of FDR's "Day of Infamy" speech, even as he reassured everyone he'd be plenty busy between his knee replacement surgery and his plans to write for the Huffington Post, the guy didn't try to hide his sadness.
I admired that, and I didn't try to hide mine, either.
No one did.