The Courier’s Tragedy as bed-time story

Yesterday’s post, via a highly circuitous chain of events, led me to purchasing my oldest nephew (age 13) his own copy of The Crying of Lot 49.  Then it led to me reading him and his brother (age 10) the 10 pages of the book that cover The Courier’s Tragedy.  Because I thought it would be funny to me.

But then, they were into it.  And they followed the plot and characters much better than the first time I read The Courier’s Tragedy.  And now I see: for as much as I liked hanging with them when they were pre-teens and dreading those awkward mopey teenage years, now that they’re each much less than a decade away from college, I can actually tell them and show them things and it’ll stick.  They can process on their own why the “a refreshingly simple mass stabbing” line is funny.  So now, now is the time to introduce them to some great books and music.  They listen now and are genuinely interested.

I mean, I know teenagers are like this: I experienced the same revelation when I was teaching with Canelli a couple years ago.  But this is different.  These are kids whom I’ve watched grow from mere poop-generation machines, each roughly a foot in length, to thinking individuals who grasp the absurdity of a whole novel about a shadowy parallel mail system run by either fat and sweaty computer nerds or stone-cold ninjas (the book leaves it open to either interpretation) and who also challenge me for tallest in the family (an incredible genetic (and, it seems, transitory) achievement on my part, to be sure).

I’ve completely lost my train of thought after that last sentence.

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