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Authors: Jonathan Goldstein

I'll Seize the Day Tomorrow

BOOK: I'll Seize the Day Tomorrow
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Praise for
I'll Seize the Day Tomorrow
and Jonathan Goldstein

“Jonathan Goldstein is one of today's most original and intelligent comic voices. He has done for radio what Larry David has done for television. And in his new book he proves, once again, that his wry, self-deprecating observations work just as well on the page.”

—David Bezmozgis, author of
Natasha and Other Stories
and
The Free World

“Jonathan Goldstein has created something uniquely funny, smart, and touching. I love this book.”

—Neil Pasricha, author of the
New York Times
bestseller
The Book of Awesome

“Surrounded by [Goldstein's] cast of family and friends, this chronicle of his 39th year is a portrait of a life that is striving towards hope and beauty—even wisdom—against the relentless pull of the gravity that is one's own character, and the entropy that is age ... I smiled or laughed at every page.”

—Sheila Heti, author of
How Should a Person Be?

“One of the funniest books I've read in a long time. Jonathan is like a mix of Louis C.K., Jean-Paul Sartre, and Sholem Aleichem. I guess what I'm trying to say is that he's hilarious, philosophical, and Jewish. I want to be Jonathan Goldstein when I turn 40. (Note: I'm 44, but you know what I mean).”

—A.J. Jacobs, author of the
New York Times
bestseller
The Year of Living Biblically

“Jonathan Goldstein's existential misery makes for good reading. As long as he keeps writing such funny and original pieces about it, I hope he continues to suffer.”

—Shalom Auslander, author of
Foreskin's Lament


I'll Seize the Day Tomorrow
is packed with Goldstein's trademark combo of sharp-edged wit and tender wisdom. It's his funniest book yet!”

—Miriam Toews, author of
A Complicated Kindness

“With his brilliant deadpan and his all-seeing eye, the hilarious Jonathan Goldstein traffics in what he calls ‘moderate hopefulness.' It fills me with wild optimism.”

—Henry Alford, author of
Would It Kill You To Stop Doing That?

“Jonathan Goldstein is one of the funniest and most original writers I can think of. Anything by him is better than anything by just about anyone else.”

—David Sedaris, author of the
New York Times
bestsellers
Me Talk Pretty One Day
and
When You Are Engulfed in Flames

“Jonathan Goldstein is like no one else. He's constantly surprising, simultaneously poetic and hilarious; an honestto-goodness artist.”

—David Rakoff, bestselling author of
Don't Get Too Comfortable

PENGUIN

I'LL SEIZE THE DAY TOMORROW

JONATHAN GOLDSTEIN
's writing has appeared in
The New York Times Magazine, GQ,
and
Nerve.
He is a columnist for the
National Post
and a frequent contributor to PRI's
This American Life
. He's the author of the short story collection
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bible!
and the novel
Lenny Bruce Is Dead
. His CBC Radio show,
WireTap,
is now in its ninth season.

ALSO BY JONATHAN GOLDSTEIN

Lenny Bruce Is Dead

Ladies and Gentlemen,The Bible!

PENGUIN

an imprint of Penguin Canada

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700,Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell,Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)

Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,

New Delhi – 110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published 2012

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (WEB)

Copyright © Jonathan Goldstein, 2012

“Unfolding” by Carl Dennis first published in
The New Yorker
. Used with permission.

Portions of this work were previously broadcast or published in slightly different form on or in the following sources: CBC Radio's
WireTap, This American Life, National Post,

En Route
magazine, and
The New York Times Magazine
.

All rights reserved.Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

Manufactured in Canada.

LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA CATALOGUING IN PUBLICATION

Goldstein, Jonathan, 1969– I'll seize the day tomorrow / Jonathan Goldstein.

ISBN 978-0-14-317388-5

1. Goldstein, Jonathan, 1969– —Humor. I. Title.

PS8563.O82846I55 2012      C817'.6      C2012-905314-7

Visit the Penguin Canada website at
www.penguin.ca

Special and corporate bulk purchase rates available; please see
www.penguin.ca/corporatesales
or call 1-800-810-3104, ext.  2477.

For my family and friends, past and present.

And what the heck, I'm feeling good:

for those, too, who may not even like me,

because they might some day.

Who knows. Life is weird.

Contents

Foreword by Gregor Ehrlich

Youth

The Things Left Undone

Popeye Loves His Olives

Why a Duck?

Survival of the Fittest

Seizing the Day

Atonement

What if Henry Heimlich Were Choking?

“I am. I am. I am.”

Friends Who Do No Kill You Make You Stronger

Guys' Night Out

bed

The Great Gazoo

Loss of Memory

The Tears You Cry in Dreams

Two Yarmulkes

Knights of the Roundtable

Unpredictable

Space and Mass

Real Tears, Finally

New Year's

Judgment

A Mission

A Thousand Monkeys and Darwin

Beginnings, Middles, and Ends

Padding the Dream

Baby Steps

A Covenant

Two for One

Soulmates

Honeymoon for One

The Power of the Written Word

Irreversible

It Can't Be That Bad

The Weight of Worry

The Writer's Life

Picasso Goldstein

A Still Shark Is Still a Shark

A Place to Hang One's Cape

Medium Is the Message

As Elusive as a Peach Slice

Timing

Stuff

Inbetweenness

Perfect Imperfection

Beating God to the Punch

To the Bottom!

On Being the Fastest Runner:The Hare Retorts

Sing the Tune Without the Words

Down the Aisle

The Levy Equation

The Great Rabbi

City Folk

A Final Toast

Musical Chairs

Social Studies

Another Lap Around

Face to Face

Late Bloomers

Afterword by Gregor Ehrlich

Acknowledgments

Foreword

by Gregor Ehrlich, agent to the star

One wintry morning many years ago, my butler opened the door of my
maison de campagne
and discovered a basket of reeds with a baby inside. There was a note pinned to the swaddling cloth explaining that the baby's name was Jonathan Goldstein, who, due to an unspecified condition, had been born well on the other side of his prime. Here was a middle-aged-man baby. And one who had not lived well at that. He was doughy, rotund, and bald—and not baby bald, but Ed Asner bald. In fact, the only thing baby-like about this creature were his genitals. Which were small.

I gave him the finest education money could buy. Elocution. Archery. Japanese stick fighting. And finally the day came to send young Goldstein out into the world—a hero's quest for my little hero! He was to fetch my dry cleaning. I'd lost the slip, but hoped he could get my pants anyway.

Unable to explain the situation to the proprietor, he threw a veritable conniption, carrying on in the shop about everything and nothing. But as Lady Luck would have it, a talent scout for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation happened to be
in that very dry cleaning establishment
and heard in Goldstein's high-pitched hysterical mewling something universal. Here was a voice—a cross between Joe Franklin trying to sing through his nose and the panicky shrieks of Larry King awakening during a hernia operation—that would one day touch the lives of hundreds.

And so his radio show,
WireTap
, was born. Although I've not heard it, I'm told Goldstein uses his governmentally funded half-hour to perform monologues about everything from his corns to his cankles, occasionally mixing it up with a modern-day fable obtuse enough to put knots in a rabbinical scholar's beard.

For the next eight years I would try unsuccessfully to pry Goldstein off that stupid show. But cling he does, like a barnacle on the underbelly of a ship, a ship he calls “Show Business”—a glorious place where Ed McMahon spits bingo numbers and Frank Sinatra slaps his valet across the nose for rumpling his cabana wear.

From his radio show sprang his column in the
National Post
, where each week his writing sits proudly alongside word scrambles, terrible international tragedies, and
Marmaduke
. And those columns
led to this very book
.

“Pack it with sex,” I advised. “Detailed anatomical descriptions of naked ladies sunbathing and such. Those
without internet, i.e., the book-buying public at large, need nudity, too.”

“It's my belief that fans of my work would rather read my
pensées
on everyday life,” said Goldstein.

I'd like to apologize.

As a man with a Netflix account and an active social life, I've not had time to read this book, so I can't vouch for its worth. I'm told it represents a year in the life of Goldstein as he approaches his fortieth birthday and confronts his mortality. I
can
vouch for this foreword, though, which you are now enjoying immensely, because I have written it. I intend to also write the afterword, so that should be enough to keep you soldiering on to the end.

BOOK: I'll Seize the Day Tomorrow
7.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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