Three stories from the New Yorker on Reading & Meeting Interesting People for a Living; The Marvel of Comics; Men and their Toys

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Three stories from the New Yorker on Reading & Meeting Interesting People for a Living; The Marvel of Comics; Men and their Toys.

Reading & Meeting Interesting People for a Living
The Monday after my first Sunday speaking at Orcas Island Community Church I ran into a new friend on the ferry whose opening line was, “I watched you yesterday, heard all your references and said to myself, ‘that lucky son of a bitch gets paid to read and think all day!'” I would add to that–and I also get paid for meeting and talking with interesting guys like you!

For 12+ years that is what I did as a talk show host–read the papers, influential books, talked to their authors and fielded calls from across the nation.

Before pastors became convinced they were supposed to be entrepreneurs, managers, CEO’s and a host of other diversionary jobs, most pastor’s functioned more like my newfound friend’s dream–reading, thinking, communicating and talking to interesting people all day.

Lest one protest, saying the mere mortals in the typical church aren’t as interesting as important, influential authors, I remind you that CS Lewis himself said “you have never met a mere mortal.”

This came to mind when I read Lizzie Widdicombe’s piece in the New Yorker
(April 10 2008) “Bored at work? Victim of a hiring freeze? In the past few weeks, word has been circulating, among the post-collegiate cubicle crowd, about an exciting new job opportunity. The rumor, according to one (unofficial) e-mail: “Oscar-winning producer Brian Grazer (Da Vinci Code, A Beautiful Mind, American Gangster) is looking for a new cultural attaché.”

The e-mail explained: This person would be responsible for keeping Brian abreast of everything that’s going on in the world; politically, culturally, musically. . . . They’re also responsible for finding an interesting person for Brian to meet with every week . . . an astronaut, a journalist, a philosopher, a Buddhist monk. . . . There is LOTS of reading for this position! Grazer may ask you to read any book he’s interested in. You’ll probably get to read about 4 or 5 books a week and you may be required to travel with him on his private plane to Hawaii, New York, Europe teaching him anything he asks you about along the way. . . . You will also be provided with an assistant. . . . Salary is around $150,000 a year. . . .”

My advise? Save the hassle of reading and booking for a Hollywood big shot–make your daily life an adventure–read and talk to people.

The Marvel of Comics
MY friend Marty (Of Halo fame) is always trying to convince me of the important deeper meaning of the younger generation’s fascination with games and comics.

My wife regularly tells me things I do not hear until someone else says the same thing and I’m afraid I am about to do that with Marty as well.

Michael Chabon, an author I respect and have interviewed on multiple occasions made a point about the significance of comic, and I heard him as if it was for the first time.

In an article in which he talks about a youthful fascination with comics and a teacher who thought they were a wasteful diversion, Chabon comments. “They are (sic) not about escape, I wanted to tell Mr. Spector, thus unwittingly plagiarizing in advance the well-known formula of a (fictitious) pioneer and theorist of superhero comics, Sam Clay. They are (sic) about transformation.” (New Yorker 4/10/08)

Men and their Toys.

Finally I offer this without commentary–but with a simple suggestion.

“Shortly before Valentine’s Day, a study was released claiming that 47% of men in Britain would give up sex in return for a big-screen plasma television. (New Yorker. Patricia Marx 3/10-08)

Might this make a good conversation starter at dinner tonight?

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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