How to Wreck a Nice Beach

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Something To That Effect

I’ll Get To It

By Dave Tompkins at 12:44am ET

Exciting things afoot next week. There’ll be a vocoder on NPR’s Morning Edition. There’ll be a mix on Mad Decent Radio with talking Slurpees.

There’ll also be a trip to Chicago—where, incidentally, I once purchased the Creature From the Black Lagoon Christmas light set pictured on (bing!) page 277 of HTWANB.

Please excuse me while I get it together.

In the meantime, here’s a sketch of me talking to a frog, as rendered by The Talented Illustrator June Kim. (Though I never rocked airplanes on my pajamas.) It’s based on a somnambulistic moment from college back in 1991. Late one night, my then-roommate—who can be found in HTWANB having asthma attacks and listening to “Scorpio”—discovered me in the open doorway of our apartment.

Apparently I was emphatically pleading with a frog that was sitting on the doormat.

“How can I get to you when you’re on the outside and I’m on the inside?!? How can I get to you!??”

I remember the frog blinking at me and saying nothing, though frogs aren’t supposed to blink. Yet frogs certainly can speak, as you’ll learn in my (bing! bing!) book.

Other things I wanted June Kim to draw for the book:

– A grasshopper behind the wheel of my stepbrother’s Camaro, cutting through a cornfield.  I have a sketch of this somewhere. The grasshopper is staring at you through the rearview mirror. He or she is wearing Kool Moe Dee sun-dimmers. Shucks are flying. Just like Steve McQueen in The Hunter.

– Back when my book was going to begin at the 1980 US Open, I asked June to draw Frog McEnroe playing Frog Borg. (Frorg?) The crowd would be high society robots, including Henry Kissinger*. The judge would be a glyptodont in a sun hat. Not to be confused with a cryptodont.

Not to be confused with anything.

– Then we thought, what if—what if—instead, “we” drew a giant throat with a hole, or stoma, in it. And the hole would be strung like a tennis racquet, with frogs peeping through the catgut grid. And the stencil would be a vocoder diagram.  Or Bambattaa in a space viking hat. And the breeze would be whistling “Pack Jam” through my perforated Rod Laver’s.

This would’ve been the cover.

I am glad June Kim still speaks to me.

Hope to see you in Chicago.

*During the CBS broadcast of that 1980 Borg-McEnroe throwdown, there was an amazing shot of Kissinger extinguishing a gnat under his glasses between sets. The Secretary of State had better seats that Ille Nastase, who wore a fly shit-fly green Adidas track suit. Nasty has extinguished many a judge with his middle finger.

1 Comment »

  1. Have you ever read any Matthew Thurber comics? I think you’ll like ’em–kind of on the same basis as introducing Rammellzee to Sir Menelik…yeah?! YEAH!

    Comment by vollsticks — July 24, 2010 @ 10:14am

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