Suppose it’s late in the year, 2012. You’re driving to work on I-80 in northern New Jersey, or the DC beltway, or God forbid, 595 in Ft. Lauderdale. You’ve just taken your first sip of coffee and cranked up a Doobie Brothers tune on the local Yacht-rock FM affiliate when all hell busts loose.
An Atlanta-based shock jock is suddenly telling you that the six-mile-wide meteor that was supposed to be an internet myth has plunged into the Atlantic somewhere south of the Canary Islands. As of this moment, a 250-foot wall of water is racing across the ocean directly toward you. You have a half an hour to get your affairs in order before you take the deep dive, so take a breath. What do you do? Do you call family, friends, or loved ones (you probably won’t get through, so don’t bother). Pray? Who to, they’re probably some Mayan gods anyway, and it’s probably too late to make simpatico with those guys. So since you’re stuck in traffic you may as well flip through your DayTimer (or more likely your iPad or laptop) to see what life-events you’re going to have to scratch for eternity.
If you’re like me, you’ll turn first to the list of books that you’ve always intended to read but put off because you thought you’d have lots of time someday to read them. Well, it’s to friggin’ late now Partner. Here’s my list – let’s just do the top five since there probably is no time for the any more than that:
- Moby Dick; Herman Melville. I confess I have never read this classic, and I always felt guilty that I didn’t. It was almost the first download that I put on my Kindle, but I opted for Edward Abbey’s The Monkeywrench Gang instead. Not that I shy from a heavy read. I made it through ‘Bleak House’ and ‘Barnaby Rudge’ but I have never even cracked the cover of this book. Oh well…too late now.
- Death in the Afternoon; Ernest Hemingway. Being a huge Papa fan, it grieves me that I will be taking my last and final dive without having read this bullfighting classic. Maybe being an animal lover has kept me from reading this one. In any case it has been on my shelf for years – unread, and in light of today’s events likely to remain that way for eternity.
- The Road; Cormac McCarthy. I am almost as big a fan of Cormac McCarthy as I am of Papa, but it looks like I’ve run out of time on this one too. Being too busy with the Border Trilogy to read it, I will have to bid farewell to, arguably America’s greatest living author, without reading what is considered by many to be his greatest work…oh well.
- “Infinate Jest”by David Foster Wallace. I have always wanted to read this book every since I picked it up at Barnes and Nobel in University Plaza in Boca Raton a couple of years ago and tried to lift it. I confess, I have never read a word of DFW apart from several bios after his death. But this book keeps coming up and if I were to live well into my nineties, I would probably have read it…but not now.
- “The Honey Badger” by Robert Ruark. When I was eighteen years old, I bought a paperback in an Iowa drug store titled: Uhuru. It was a great book and over the years I read more about Robert Ruark, a man who emulated Hemmingway, and was a great writer in his own right. So I read Ruark before Papa – how do you like that. This book was his last and it has been on my list for years.
These are the five books that I will likely to NOT have read when the big one comes down this December.
What are yours??