Jenny Lawson’s book, I AM IN YOU
A friend sent me an email the other day that said: “So, non-sequiter, but do you know that YOU ARE IN THE BLOGGESS’ BOOK?”
My first reaction was to tsk-tsk at her misspelling of “non sequitur.” Priorities.
My second reaction was akin to that time Tom Cruise crazily clambered up Oprah’s couch.
I’ve been slowly working my way through Jenny Lawson’s side-splitting memoir, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened,” but I can only devour it in 10-15 page bites because one of my cats cannot not sit on books. Upon receiving that email, though, I started feverishly fast-forwarding until I came to Page 289, where staring back at me was the familiar, fabulously taxidermied face of Grover Cleveland, the poker-playing, pistol-packing half of a smoking squirrel that I once sent to Jenny as a thank-you gift for being awesome.
I’d been blogging for only about two months when Jenny, a collector of ethically taxidermied creatures and probably Al Gore‘s inspiration to invent the internet, linked to one of my posts accusing Ellen DeGeneres of being a vampire, sending thousands of her readers here. It was pretty much the coolest thing that had ever happened to me, so I wanted to express my gratitude — by sending her a dead animal in the mail. As is customary in our culture.
After debuting on her blog, Grover Cleveland took on a life (after death) of his own, burrowing his way into memes and even Jenny’s Wikipedia page. Now, he’s forever immortalized in a New York Times bestseller. Which might be the closest I’ll ever get to having my own book deal — besides once being on a book — and I’m oddly OK with that.
This is now my baffling claim to fame.
And I have photos of my cats chewing on Grover Cleveland’s face to prove it.
Isabel and Teva were so transfixed by the deceased squirrel dressed as a cowpoke that I couldn’t deny them the chance to gently maul it. Also, the bite marks added character. Surely, I thought, this would be the first and last time I ever bought a whimsical carcass for a celebrity. But I was wrong, as usual, because I’ve since mailed Jenny two other dead things. I really need to stop underestimating myself.
A few months ago, the Blogologues gals and I were brainstorming how to get the blogosphere buzzing about our comedy show. I told them I kind of had rapport with The Bloggess. Rapport based on a dead squirrel. Which is kind of the best rapport ever. As a long shot, I contacted Jenny and asked whether she possibly could help us. To our surprise, she wrote back immediately, and in typical Jenny fashion she bartered publicity … in exchange for a cheap dead reptile.
“I do know of a place that has some great taxidermied baby alligators in clothes,” she wrote, stating her preference for one dressed as a baseball player or matador, then pointing me to an emporium in Milwaukee. Because of course she knows of a place that has baby alligators in clothes.
I soon found myself on the phone with Karen at Antiques on Second, who didn’t bat an eye when I called her cold and told her I was looking for dead baby alligators dressed as a bullfighter and ball player. And then she searched high and low through three floors of vendors. And then when she found them, I asked her which alligator wearing people clothes she thought was better, and without hesitating, as if it were totally normal and she answers that sort of question all the time: “Well, the baseball player has a cute little hat.”
I ended up grabbing them both, because I didn’t want to separate them. Like kittens, basically. And because Jenny has given us all so much that really there aren’t enough furiously happy boars’ heads and dainty mouse orchestras and angsty weasels in the world to ever do her justice.
According to UPS, the eagle landed the next day, and maybe it’s confusing to talk in code here when really what landed were dead alligators, but something had gone terribly wrong. The offering had arrived, but not at its intended destination. Apparently, I accidentally sent two dead baby alligators to a random house in rural Texas. But I’m sure that sort of thing happens all the time in Texas. Or at least when you live next-door to the Bloggess. There goes the neighborhood. But she blogged about our show anyway, even before the gators got there. Because she’s a horrible businesswoman who might not understand how transactions work. And a truly wonderful human being.
Jenny just announced another leg of her book tour; she’s coming to Boston in June. I couldn’t be more excited to meet the woman who inspired me to start writing, who makes me laugh uncontrollably with her outrageous antics, who has changed my life in the most absurd and awesome ways, and who is responsible for my becoming a lifetime member of PETA to clear my conscience.
Also, most famouses would take out a restraining order if you repeatedly mailed dead animals to their doorstep. But not Jenny. And that’s why I’m still legally allowed to attend her book signing. I’ll be there with bells on. And by “bells on,” I mean “another dead thing I found for her on eBay.” You’re welcome, Jenny.
And thanks so much for everything.