A Critic's Meta Review: 4/5
The Nose by Nikolai Gogol (REVIEW)
I do not know which is stranger - this story, or the circumstances that led me to read it.
First, some context:
Every afternoon (although lately, as I have been up late at night working on an EP that I hope to release sometime before we exit this exhilarating year, it has been more like every evening), I go down to the playground across the street from my apartment with my laptop, a cup of joe (or his pal, green tea), and some form of edible citrus (I have been particularly hot on tangerines lately, but I am not one to pass up a good clementine or even a garden variety navel, to be sure). I pull up an early 1970s live performance by The Allman Brothers Band on YouTube. And then, just like that, I get typing. No phone to distract me - just the occasional dachshund or pomeranian (a “dog breed” which I believe to be nothing but a front for a potentially invasive alien species from a solar system far, far away, but that is not something we have to get into at this juncture).
Usually, nobody talks to me. Why would they? I mean, I don’t look like somebody you would really need to talk to (certainly not to these Georgetown yuppies, at least; I don’t work for a think tank or anything like that, and the only connections I have tend to revolve around bicycle repair and...herbal remedies). Usually - but not on this day. On this particular day, the day on which I was recommended Nikolai Gogol’s “The Nose”, I was working diligently on one of these here reviews when, all of a sudden, I was asked by a woman of about forty or so years of age if I would like a cigar. Though I am not much of a cigar aficionado, being a conversationalist, I took her up on the offer. Well, we started talking, exchanged phone numbers and, yada yada yada, it turns out she is a former French teacher from Alaska (where she has just started a charity for children with cancer, called Katie’s Handprint), currently living in Toulouse, from where she is visiting her sister. She also apparently knows how to make a mean salmonberry rhubarb jam, and is an enthusiast of surreal works of Russian short fiction.
What an interesting gal. You know, sometimes you’ve just got to say “screw it” and take the cigar. It won’t kill ya. Well, actually, it might. In fact, you might get cancer. But not while you’re a kid. When you’re older. Much, much older. Right?