Here For It w/ R. Eric Thomas, #115

Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?

This week: The president autographed a Bible and I just..., Tim Cook has a new name, and Antoni gets caught up in a public makeout.

We finally got around to watching the movie Can You Ever Forgive Me? starring Melissa McCarthy and it was truly a treat! It's about Lee Israel, an author who, finding herself in a professional rut and in dire straits financially, begins forging correspondence written by famous people and selling it to collectors. Let me tell you, as someone who hopes to make a career in publishing, watching depressed Lee Israel drink scotch in the middle of the day and glower at her failed latest book sitting on the 99 cent table at a bookstore was deeply inspiring. I turned to David midway through and said, "This is what you have to look forward to from me!" One of my keys to a happy and healthy marriage is offering the lowest possible expectations. In my vows, I believe I said, "It is highly likely I will get caught up in a pyramid scheme or some other white collar crime at some point."

I wasn't really serious about becoming Lee Israel, of course. I don't even like scotch. I was fascinated by the nature of her caper, however. She was a celebrity biographer so slipping into the tone and circumstance of, say, Noel Coward, was easy for her. And the fact that people actually wrote letters back then didn't hurt either. Collectors were eager to get their hands on breezy correspondence from Dorothy Parker about a particularly wild dinner party or the minutiae of making plans for a summer excursion, and for good reason. These people were witty and catty and incisive in their letters (the real ones, and the ones from Lee Israel's imagination). I often wonder what future collectors will trade and future biographers will comb through since letter-writing has definitely fallen off as practice. To be sure, there's lots of people who still write letters but I don't and when I think about future celebrities and their collected papers I am thinking about me. And Beyoncé. But mostly me.

In place of florid letters full of insight and humor, my future archivists will have a bunch of emails that say "I am so so sorry about the delay in getting back to you. I'm really not good with e-mail. I filled out the Doodle poll. Thanks so much, Eric." (By the way, if you've written me an email lately let me preemptively say I am so so sorry about the delay.) Maybe future biographers will somehow get their hands on text messages, which will also provide little illumination in my case. Can you imagine going all the way to the University of Phoenix where my papers will be kept and pulling up a database full of texts that read "Haha." or "I saw gay Philly drama Facebook but no one is being specific. What's happening?" (that one is mostly to Jarrod) or of course "Sorry for the delay..." Well you know the rest.

I would like to write more letters but a stamp? In this economy. Forget it. Also, I feel like letters should be hand-written and that's a real chore. (Although now that I think about it, the reason Lee Israel was able to get away with what she did was because all of the letters were typed on typewriters and just signed by the sender. Hmm. Perhaps I should get a typewriter.) Still, a computer printout of a letter seems somehow less heartfelt. Also, a printer? In this economy. Honey.

I really wanted to have our wedding thank you notes printed because I type so much faster than I write but every wedding blog I looked at was like "OH. MY. GOD. Are you crazy?" So, we wrote them, slowly, by hand. I think I have fine penmanship, sometimes even nice. I write in Gay Italics, I think. A lot of flourish and a slight leftward slant. It's fine.

But I don't know if I have the stamina to compose whole missives by hand. That's also what's kept me from keeping a journal even though I am sure future biographers would be very interested in my private complaints. I know you can just keep a journal on a computer but again it feels impersonal. (Who am I being impersonal to? Myself? I am the person who is impersoned here. What a mess.) Every time I sit down to write a journal entry I always get confused about what my objective is. Sometimes I try to make jokes but then I'm like, Who is this for? Yourself? Okay, haha. Happy now? I'm a terrible audience. Other times I try to write deep, curious thoughts about the nature of life but it turns out, interestingly, I do not have any. For a while right after we moved to Baltimore I committed myself to just writing down what I did every day in bullet points. No commentary, just a list of events. But I couldn't help but editorialize. "Went to see a play. It was fine. Actually it was not fine. I really didn't enjoy it. But I was envious of the playwright nonetheless. Which is outrageous because the playwright has been dead for like 50 years. What am I going to do, go to their grave and throw a martini? Actually, that's a hilarious thought. What a lunatic. Ah well. Also, ate seared tuna for dinner. Was fine."

Is this what people want? Is this what I want? I have no idea. What I should do, actually, is hire someone to ghostwrite my diary for me, like a Lee Israel type. But not, you know, fraud. Well, sort of a fraud but one that I was complicit in. Good thing I warned David about the white collar crime in our vows.

This week, Kate Beckinsale and Pete Davidson publicly played tonsil hockey, Trump may not have great transcripts but he definitely knows who Tim Cook is. But first... a word about the Word.

Trump Is Autographing Bibles Now So That's a Wrap on Humanity, Right?

Donald Trump, who is a pointed example in many a Sunday morning sermon, agreed to sign a Bible. I feel like it's common knowledge that the only people writing on Bibles are grandmothers writing down important dates on the inside cover. Autographs are definitely a new area. Does he think he wrote it, like he also thinks he wrote The Art of the Deal? Very possible. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

I'm an Antoni in a World of Kissing Kates and Petes

One, there is so much tongue in this photo I feel like I'm at a Kiss concert. Yikes! Computer, erase! Two, Antoni in this photo is 100% me every time I go to a straight bar. Or a sporting event. When asked for comments by reporters, he surely answered, "How do you think I feel? Betrayed. Bewildered." Very same. [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

It's Totally Normal to Lock Your Academic Transcripts in a Secret Vault

Folks. Come on. It is a totally normal thing for a very smart person with nothing to hide to lock their academic transcripts in a vault like a cursed amulet. Why are we making such a big deal about the Washington Post article that alleges after Trump started talking trash about Obama's intelligence in 2011, he sent heavies to his military academy and harassed them into disappearing his transcripts? Isn't that a thing that every super genius does? When I applied for grad school and they asked for my undergraduate records I told them, "Sorry, shan't. They've been secured in a tower where they'll never be reached, Rapunzel-like. But take my word for it: my brain so big." [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Donald Trump Thinks Tim Cooke, the CEO of Apple, Is Named 'Tim Apple'

This is... not correct, but you have to admit it's just easier. Trump is out here playing three-dimensional chess with nomenclature. He's like a feudal lord in the Middle Ages where everyone's job was automatically their last name because society was struggling and no one had enough energy to think of two names. Everybody was Harriet Shoemaker and Genevieve Tailor and times were simple. Make America Medieval Again! [READ THE FULL COLUMN]

Let's Hang Out!

I'm going to Mexico City in two weeks for David's birthday (David is coming, too, although now that I think about it, it would be hilarious to take a birthday trip for someone else's birthday and not invite them. Note for next year. Ah, the joys of being married to me.) Anyway, if you have tips and tricks about the area, or things we definitely should see or do, drop me a line or tweet me! Also, if you are in Mexico City, let's definitely hang out! (Caveat: I do not speak Spanish and I am boring in person.)

Random Thing from the Internet

I wanted to make a Vanderpump Rules joke in a column this week but I have never seen it and don't really know what it is, so I read the Wikipedia page. VERY FASCINATING.

I filled out the Doodle poll,