pd mallamo



INSTEAD OF THE INFLIGHT MOVIE which features Tommy Lee Jones wearing his standard expression of Tragedy Eternal1 while enforcing his own very hip version of frontier justice, he finishes Kapuscinski’s Another Day of Life, a portrait of the Angolan Civil War at the end of Portuguese colonial rule, and a glimpse into the catastrophe of the modern world. In such a world, he is ever so slowly understanding, he must do as he pleases while his life slips and slides away forever. The gifts of mortality present themselves for only a moment. Am I a good man? What of those ten commandments? God is enjoying this, he laughs to himself - the leisurely pace of His grand apocalypse. We organize experience in our bodies, and all the prayer and canned goods in the world can’t undo what we have done to ourselves. Three men in the seats just behind him order Jack Daniels & Coke at 9:10 a.m. (One says Jesus got waterboarded too, just like the rest of us so to speak, it’s all good, no problem.) The woman next to him plays sudoku with such intensity he thinks the airplane might crash and she’d barely notice. Across the aisle, a middle-aged Mennonite man with a white chin beard sits perfectly still and does not speak with his very pretty and much younger wife, whose hair is up and whose neck is serpentine and beautiful.

He, too, sits composed, The New York Times unopened on his lap. The stewardess asks if he’d like something to drink and he orders coffee for the first time in his life. He adds cream and sugar and gazes down at White America moving swiftly beneath the numinous machine.


An advertising agency in Syracuse that produces, among other products, macho television commercials for macho Ford trucks for macho men offered him the best job out of Northwestern. Even the macho world of macho truck advertising requires a modicum of not necessarily macho taste and intelligence and, not willing to hire a sissy from the Ivy League or Stanford, the creative team manager, who had never been to Chicago and was for all intents and purposes a (macho) idiot, decided that anyone out of Utah who could survive three years in hogtown probably has what it takes. So of course he hires a Mormon lawyer2. Adam works there for two years and divides his time between the agency’s numerous legal problems and ad copyЯ, not just for trucks, but for massive burritos. The client, a food entrepreneur from Dallas, wants these subliminally suggestive of an elephant penis. Now he is bullied and cajoled by a wife who has high family connections in the church, detests Syracuse, and wants desperately to move back to Salt Lake City. Having to that point successfully tolerated a full dose of the American Business Class, but acutely aware that his work constitutes yet one more tributary in the great flood of bullshit engulfing America, he is not able to mount a fully effective self-defense.

He flies into Salt Lake City for his first interview on a wet dark October afternoon, two weeks after General Conferenceβ, and comes early because he wants to visit Provo. He rents a better car than he needs and drives slowly east toward the freeway. NPR features a Utah host discussing Andy Warhol with experts from around the country. Of especial interest is the fake Warhol who visited Salt Lake many years ago, and a new Warhol exhibit in Billings, Montana, of all places. He laughs in his car at Andy’s final dark victory, his relentless viral working into even such places as the western sticks. A billboard offers lawyer’s services for motorists hit by trucks; five miles later a billboard offers lawyer’s services for motorcyclists hit by motorists. He figures he’s better off hawking the elephant penis. In the glistening haze of autumn he goes south past Lehi and American Fork, then southeast on University Parkway to BYU. He finds temporary parking near the administration building and walks onto the campus.


1 Cargoless,
bound heavenward,
ship of the moon — Dohaku

2 It is up to you to be Lacanians. As far as I am concerned, I am a Freudian. — Jacques Lacan
Я In other words, the man who is born into existence deals first with language; this is a given. He is even caught in it before his birth. — Ibid
Two assistants searched Internet and library for three days to discover whether, beyond simple size, the organ possessed any characteristics salient to burrito advertising. Many were found, none that could be decently utilized.
As the aircraft drops into the Salt Lake valley these are the words that form in his mind: “Something like Mecca I suppose.”
β He had listened to this particular session with the kind of incredulity one might reserve for eyewitness accounts of alien landings or flying pumpkins. By the end of Conference he had come to believe that his leaders were insane – wonderful old men (and two remarkably unliberated females), but captured into a kind of solipsistic loop from which escape is impossible.

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