Will there be stupid one-sentence paragraphs?
Do you even need to ask?
Who will be in the photos?
Could it be Mitch Himself?
Again: Grow up.
Actually, in mellow moments, a state of mind I strive to reach more frequently, I wonder if Mitch is the world’s happiest man these days. I wonder if, as so often happens in life and three-act screenplays, whether the brass ring he was chasing hasn’t revealed itself to be cheap paint covering zinc and not that shiny at all. I had a drink not long ago with someone who admired Albom’s early work in Detroit, and says he really was a different guy, once upon a time. He had wit and style and — this is key — enough of a bad-ass inside him to occasionally be naughty. Then he saw the opportunity to cash in by warming hearts. There’s always a buck to be made in the heart-warming trade. Ask the people who make greeting cards and much of the advertising inflicted upon us during events like the Olympics. In Mitch’s case he made many, many bucks, and now look what’s become of him.
If I went to Haiti, I’d hire the roughest, toughest fixer I could find and ask to be taken on the Full Carnage Tour. I’d want to see voodoo ceremonies and makeshift hospitals and squatters living in rubble piles. Mitch has to go to the Caring and Sharing Mission, where he will write about the Noble Poor, Who Are Down But Not Out, Because They Have Love. Just a scan of the subheads makes your teeth hurt:
“Seeing the miraculous,” “Feeling joy and pain,” Doing what we must” — has a story ever announced itself to be more joyless? Could there be a single thing in there you feel you haven’t read before? Haiti is poor. Haiti is tragic. Haiti is our responsibility. Haiti is yet another opportunity for Mitch to warm your heart and tell you again what you already knew — it’s bad, but others are on the case, fighting the good fight, and yes, you can write them a check — while simultaneously throwing in little details of what a good guy he is:
It does not take long to settle in here. I put down my bag, blow up an air mattress and place it on the floor of the pastor’s quarters. That’s it.
Millionaire Mitch sleeps on the floor. That’s how poor Haiti is.
I wonder if, late at night in his counting-house, surrounded by his treasure chests full of gold or bales of cash or in his cashmere underwear personally woven by his investment advisor, if he ever looks out the window at the moonlight on the snow and thinks, This job used to be more fun. When your whole life is one long Good Deed, when you walk into every public event with that half-smile of smug self-effacement (yes, it exists), when you sit behind a microphone and say things like, “No, no the real heroes are the people who do this work every single day. I’m just the guy who tells the rest of you about them” — is there ever a small voice inside that says, You are so, so full of shit. Go ahead, tell them that, Mr. Modesty.
No, I didn’t think so, either.
Here’s my heart of hearts speaking: When I learned Warren Zevon was a friend of this man, my opinion of Warren fell by 37 percent. That’s saying something.
Oh, well. There are still honest writers in the world. Roger Ebert responds to the Esquire piece. Says he’s not really dying all that fast, and that his cholesterol is excellent. Which is sort of funny, when you think of it. Ebert gets the Tom Sawyer experience of attending his own funeral and hearing what all his friends have to say about him. What a lucky guy.
The man who made his bones wearing a stupid bow tie, name-dropping philosophers and making a who-farted expression on a thousand Sunday-morning news-chat shows says loathing for Sarah Palin is born of “snobbery.” Now that’s bein’ ballsy, George Will!
Back to the mangle for me, folks.