Larry Doyle

Monday night

“Honey,” my wife said this morning, looking around the apartment I have been living in for two months without her. “I think I’m going to get a maid in here.”

“Why?” I asked, drawing it out, apparently to noncomical effect.

“Because I want to show her how a properly cleaned apartment looks. Maybe I’ll even bring in two. Start a school.”

My wife is real funny.

* * * * * *

I called my agent as soon as I got in to work to find out if I still had a job.

“Didn’t you get the message?” my agent’s assistant said. “We left a message on your voice mail Friday. They picked up the option on your contract.”


“Aren’t you excited?”

“Yeah,” I said, “thanks.” But I was thinking, What other messages have I missed? I had just been told that I had made the first cut at The Simpsons, in my opinion the best written American television show since The Honeymooners, and I was wondering if–I don’t know–maybe the Nobel committee called or something.

* * * * * *

I didn’t wear green today and everybody gave me shit about it, not the first time. My parents are Irish immigrants, all my relatives live in Ireland, and perhaps as a consequence I find St. Patrick’s Day just a wee odd. It’s the only day I know of when it’s considered mandatory to celebrate a negative ethnic stereotype. I wonder what would happen, for example, if Kentucky Fried Chicken did a special promotion for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, or if everybody celebrated Cinco de Mayo by pretending to fall asleep on the job.

I passed a production assistant just after lunch and stopped her to read the giant paper shamrock she had pinned to her chest. It said, “Buy me a drink, I’m Irish.” I think on Columbus Day I’m going to wear a button that says, “Kiss me and I’m a dead man. I’m Sicilian.”

* * * * * *

At lunch, we talked about our weekends. One writer had just gotten back from a vacation in Paris, where he confirmed that the restaurants did indeed have snooty waiters, and Amsterdam, where he reported that the brothels now have Disneyland-style animatronic prostitutes who provide price-list information at the push of the button. “For 50 guilders,” the robo-harlot recited, “I will give you the hand-job of your life.” This prompted another writer to recount that he had gone to Hermosa Beach on Sunday, where he had had the doughnut of his life. Somehow, we got onto the subject of starting a chicken farm, then the doughnut gourmand announced that he had started investing in a new biotechnology stock after getting a tip from an endocrinologist. This segued into discussion of an article in the current Scientific American, and subsequently Deadly Feasts, Richard Rhodes’ new book about the spread of spongiform encephalopathies.

Then we went back to writing The Simpsons.

* * * * * *

The landlady came to show the apartment this afternoon, which we are vacating at the end of the month. The prospective tenants complained about the filth, but my wife explained that her husband had been living here for two months by himself, and that seemed to satisfy them.