Once upon a time, I worked for a bigtime national public radio show. One day, our literary producer booked a new young writer. He'd written a book about about some generation called X. I never actually touched the guy during this interview, as he was in Vancouver, but I was excited about what he was talking about. His name was Douglas Coupland.
In the next few months, all I ever heard about was this Generation X thing, and slackers and McJobs. The book was really quite good, and we thought we had a new hero. But I still hadn't touched him.
Several years later, Doug came into the actual studio to record an interview with our literary/arts diva. They sat down to do the interview and he asked her if he could see her "greens" (that's bigtime radio jargon for interview cribnotes.) She wanted to be cool and handed over the notes. He took them, ripped 'em up and threw them out. That's what cool Gen X'ers do, you see. But I still didn't touch him.
Third time lucky. Doug came in to the studio again, but this time we were prepared. The producer put all the questions on a computer screen for the host so that Doug couldn't rip 'em up. And this was quite fitting since he was here to celebrate his new Microserfs book... computer humour was starting to be a going concern. Well, he was wearing a clubber's touque, he had words written on his knuckles that I couldn't make out. He paused a lot. He didn't really say anything. (In the end, the producer had to edit this 45 minute festival of grunts and silences down to a 5-minute montage of R.E.M. music and Doug's blips of wisdom. He really is a good writer, which proves you can't judge a book by its cover. heh heh. Pretty funny, eh?)
I had to go into the studio at one point to adjust the microphone... they guy was all over the place -- mostly under the table so it was hard to get a good recording. He recognized my "Little America" t-shirt and smiled. He shook my hand and mumbled something. I don't know what he said, but that's when I touched Douglas Coupland.
Tomorrow: Tetched again.