so long kirk

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2002-03-20

Yesterday I was on the Brown Line EL train headed for the Loop, reading William Maxwell’s beautiful and sad “So Long, See You Tomorrow” when the bookmark I was using slipped out and fell to the floor. I picked it up quickly because I realized it was my Capt. Kirk bookmark. About three years ago I bought a Capt. Kirk bookmark and a Spock bookmark because I thought they were funny (by the way, that’s something I don’t ever spend any money on anymore. Buy something because it’s “funny”). Like all of my bookmarks, I lost the Spock one but somehow I’ve managed to hold on to the Kirk one. Usually it will be missing for months and it will pop up in shoebox, or maybe, in a shoe. I don’t know how or why. Elves? Anyway, I hate to admit it but it was kind of embarrassing when everyone on the train sitting by me could see my Capt. Kirk bookmark. Why should I care? Does owning a Kirk bookmark put me in the same class (and this is sort of a class issue, right?) as the “Trekkers” who dresses up in a Star Trek uniform in public? As for the actual bookmark, it’s really nice. Plastic coated with a photo of William Shatner when he was a young and fit Captain Kirk from the tv series. He looks very healthy and handsome,in his prime, sort of the way I imagine the doomed tenant farmer Lloyd Wilson in Maxwell’s “So Long, See You Tomorrow” once looked before all the troubles, before he fell for his neighbor’s wife and was shot and killed. It really is an incredible little book. I started out wondering where it was going and getting impatient at times, but sentence by sentence it just slowly builds, the writing masterful without being flashy, and by the last sentence I was crushed. In a good way of course. Best work William Shatner has ever been in.

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