The inaugural issue of Penn Magazine
“A man once said that the pinnacle of success is when you’ve finally lost interest, in money, compliments, and publicity.” — Todd Snider I am an American. And I believe. I believe in opening your presents Christmas morning, that Sasquatch is an ape, jet flyovers and it would be weird to write down shit all the time. I just keep repeating the words in my head and maybe I’ll remember. “Italian” because I’ve never heard Italian live before and I say something stupid to Ruth about Italians looking normal until you hear them talk. “Literary” because we go down Literary Way and I want my statue to be there. “Park Ranger” because there is a guy sitting in the park wearing a big UFO hat who told us cryptically where the restrooms were, and I think I can find some way to put Park Ranger into this. box, but it couldn’t be found. And it was time to leave because it was time to get off the damn computer, wow, you do know what I’m talking about? And it was time to go to a dive bar in Brooklyn. That’s what really sounded like fun to me. We went for a walk in Central Park because it was close and it’s Central Park. And we found out that Michael Moore has a show on Broadway. We had already planned to see The Book “Park Ranger” because there is a guy sitting in the park wearing a big UFO hat who told us cryptically where the restrooms were. over the stadium were put there by God, God is umm, not sure ... Lee Harvey Oswald killed John Kennedy, George Washington chopped down the cherry tree, and something about the moon. Not really. Not necessarily. I believe that what Americans need though is a saying, something to summarize, to protect, to help us get through. Italian Literary Park Ranger. That’s not it. Those are my mind notes I keep repeating as Ruth and I walk through Central Park. Yes, we went to New York, drove out of the woods of northern Minnesota to Minneapolis and were outa here, because it was time. While I’m walking and gawking in Central Park I’m making notes in my head because I have no paper 52/Penn Magazine/November 2017 So, sometimes all the notes you keep in your heard are stupid and when you get back to paper you just let it go. Because it’s stupid. We Americans do think funny things, weird things. Maybe Italians and Chinese and others do, too, but it’s harder to tell. We believe in Lake Wobegon, for one thing, or we want to, we really want to. We have lots of sayings, funny things that we believe, in which we base whole lives in. Anyway, it was time, time to leave Minnesota. The Duluth Public Library could not find my Wisconsin beer box of books I had brought in and offered to the library to put into circulation. The fiction editor had turned them down and now I was there to pick up the of Mormon, but that was another night. We checked the prices and found tickets and there we were. M ichael Moore has a Broadway show and the Duluth Public Library can’t find my beer box of books. I think MM and I could have been buddies, journalistas chasing down the bad guys, Michael & Me [but mostly me], but so far that has not worked out. It was time to leave Minnesota because I was done writing, it was not working, and there was nothing else to do and maybe there is something to do in New York, probly not. It was time to leave Minnesota because I had read in the Duluth Reader how Garrison Keillor, who calls himself The Old Scout, believes that Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy.
“These are not stupid men, presumably. They are too tall and wearing suits and they are on TV and people know their names — and they know full well how their bread is buttered and by whom. They also did not say boo or you betcha when their fellow Minnesotan, Paul Wellstone, was murdered for having questioned the official 9/11 story. November 2017/Penn Magazine/53