Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Pop quiz: what is the relationship between these two items? 1) In Jonathan Lethem's Fortress of Solitude, the lead characters bear the ponderously laden names of Dylan Ebdus (white Jewish wedge for gentrification) and Mingus Rude (promising black student turned crack addict prisoner). 2) Near the end of Fortress of Solitude, Lethem says something like "Things are what they are, no matter how many names they have." Write your answers in strict mathematical notation and present them to me after class along with your phone number and a nude photo.

Here in Baltimore, symbolism is outré. Right? How else would you explain a bar called exactly what it is: The Drinkery? Before I moved here, DR talked up The Drinkery, telling me that if it still exists, I must check it out. And so I did. Before entering, I remembered a few of her desciptors of the place: "sleazy," "shithole," "place where a dozen men sag from their barstools in a stupor that transcends mere drunknness and achieves a kind of freedom from the cycle of grasping and desire." Of course, I'd forgotten "gay," which lacuna in my memory was immediately filled upon entering the place. My ear was also filled, but with a red-nosed man's tongue rather than with anything from memory's well. Once is enough, thanks. And besides, Baltimore is not exactly lacking other dive bars to explore.