December 15th, 2011 / 10:45 am

ToBS R2: Daily facebook updates of what you ate / listened to while writing today vs. Gordon lish


 [Matchup #39 in Tournament of Bookshit]

Daily Facebook Food Updates

As I write this comparison I am eating a burrito composed of Eden Organic Black Beans (no salt added), Seapoint Farms Veggie Blends with Edamame (the wonder veggie), Sunripe sweet grape tomatoes, and Sabra brand, all natural spicy guacamole; the burrito is topped with diced red onions, Polly-O shredded low-moisture part-skim mozzarella (an excellent source of calcium), and Cholula Chili Lime flavor hot sauce, and while enjoying it very much, I admit that my meal is tainted by a somewhat wistful wish that I had a liberal dollop or sour cream or perhaps even crème fresh with which to adorn one of the two large whole wheat tortillas given to me, gratis, by Rock, the Korean owner/operator of the grocery on the first floor of my building in downtown Manhattan’s Financial District. I feel I should explain that my wistfulness is perhaps due primarily to the fact that I’ve only recently returned from a vacation in Tulum, Mexico—an important vacation for a variety of reasons not relevant here—wherein I was continually treated to vast quantities of high quality, though often quite simple, Mexican food, made from fresh local (though doubtless not “organic”) ingredients, and prepared with dutiful attention and care by people whose sincere smiles smashed through my preconceived notions about the disdain and disgruntled attitudes my presence might inspire in the local population. Then, as now, the flavors were rich and complimentary, reflecting the plain, frank earthiness of the landscape and lives of those whose poverty and resourcefulness shaped the cuisine, but as I hinted above, there was in Tulum an additional element, not only to my enjoyment, but to the flavors themselves, which smartly amplified the lush, low jungle smack up against the side of the sea, and seemed to fairly shimmer on my tongue with echoes of the regional precious metals that once infused and informed the physical atmosphere of the painted, violently beautiful Mayan lifestyle toward which the lower classes leaned for inspiration from the blistering heat of their cast iron cook pots. And it was this ephemeral something that distracted from what would otherwise doubtless have been entire, unadulterated enjoyment. Fortunately, my displeasure is tempered, if not reversed entirely, by listening to a recording of John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk playing, presently at least, Epistrophy—oop, no, now it’s Functional they’re playing. Monk, a notorious lover of all foods spicy, would no doubt have taken one bite of my burrito and proceeded back into my kitchen to mine out whatever long-overlooked bottles of hot sauce remained from the vast and sedimented mass of errant and ill-used condiments carelessly collected in the refrigerator door. That is, of course, assuming he wasn’t already carrying his trusty flask filled with what many people would, over his lifetime, mistake for whiskey. He’d actually been covering all edibles with hot sauce since it had first been introduced to him by Jimmy “The Sweatshop” Tillerman, a man who lived in the Upper West Side neighborhood where Monk grew up and who had claimed to have been raised by a particularly defiant group of Cruzob, or Mayan rebels who refused to recognize the authority of the Mexican state, holing themselves up deep within the as-yet-uncharted regions of the Yucatan, long before the formation of the relatively new state, Quintana Roo. Tillerman would repeatedly tell one particular story of having as a child witnessed, on the disintegrating steps of the Mayan ruins at Tulum, an ancient rite being enacted where the body of a blindingly white woman was cast into the sea, and claimed, years later after having found a picture of her in a newspaper clipping, that the woman he’d seen was none other than Dorothy Arnold, the socialite and perfume heiress who’d disappeared from Manhattan in 1910 during a walk through Central Park. And it is rumored, though unconfirmed, that Thelonious’s now-standard ‘Round Midnight is a portrait of the sadness and subsequent sweetness felt by the adolescent Tillerman upon catching first site of another person with skin the color he’d only seen as reflections in the still, fresh waters of the local cenotes thrown from the big, abrupt rock.


Gordon Lish

Never heard of him.

Shya Scanlon

– – –

Winner: Facebook Food Updates



  1. michael

      i lol’d

  2. deadgod

      daily updates vs. Lishish

      winner:  wherever you are now, whatever you’re doing, however you feel, you’re not there yet–because you don’t really want to be, not really

  3. Mr. Ian M. Belcurry

      killed it

  4. Elias Van Son

      your first sentence was 134 words long and made you sound about as human as a blade of grass with IBS.  who eats shit like that? 
      “organic, no salt added, all-natural, LOW-MOISTURE?!, part-skim” with big dreams of “crème fresh.”  i want to vomit in your mouth.

  5. Anonymous

  6. Brooks Sterritt

      what is facebook?

  7. Anonymous