My 100th Post: Donald Trump And Joyce Carol Oates Chime In

1001I was giddy with joy last week when I began designing the story that is now before your eyes. Why wouldn’t I have been? Incredibly to me, it is the 100th opus that I’ve published on this blog, though its finalized shape differs substantially from my original conception. Despite that, I am of the opinion that 100 stories is a true milestone for someone whose life has been light on milestones. Very light. The last time I did anything noteworthy was decades ago, in 1985, the year in which I set the Guinness World Record for the most Cheez-It crackers consumed in one sitting. The 8,271 Its that tumbled down my gullet on June 17 of that year remain a number yet to be topped. You can look it up.

One hundred stories. Wow, indeed, considering that when I started this blog 20 months ago I was uncertain as to its future. I began strongly, banging out articles every four or five days. And even though my pace soon slowed slightly, I held the old nose to the old grindstone and efficiently kept the stories rolling off the assembly line. So, I feel comfortable in saying that my blog isn’t going away anytime soon. Hey, I’ve discovered that I like to write. Who’d have thunk it? At last, something to hold on to!

Still, by nature less than wonderfully confident, I was in need last week of some reinforcement, some pats on the back that would keep my elevated mood elevated and provide uplifting quotes to incorporate into story #100. With that in mind, a few days ago I picked up the phone and made a series of calls to a variety of intermediaries, eventually directly reaching the persons I wanted to chat with. Persons whose votes of confidence I was hoping to win. Things didn’t end up the way I had envisioned, but WTF. I tried. And I did snare conversations with two individuals from my past whose thoughts, I’d venture to say, haven’t been included in the same story ever before. Namely, Donald Trump, “Donnie” to me, and the brilliant and incomprehensibly prolific novelist, essayist and memoirist Joyce Carol Oates.

Donnie Trump was the first of the two I was able to get on the line.

“Who’s this?” he said after I offered my greeting. “Hurry up, whoever you are. I’m busy. It’s not as easy as you’d think to unravel and unnerve a country.”

“Donnie, it’s Neil Scheinin. Remember me? We were not quite friends but were more than acquaintances during the one year we spent together at Mister Gruel’s High School For Future Winners. You were 15 and I was 14. We were on the debate team together. You were its star, natch. I was the fifth alternate. Remember?”

There was a pause. Then he spoke. “Neil, I have a vague memory of you. You’re the guy, I think, who couldn’t string two sentences together coherently. Am I right?”

“Yeah, Donnie. As always, you’re right. Here’s why I’m calling. You weren’t very nice to me all those years ago, mocking me, belittling my meager talents. That’s why I wanted to let you know that these many moons later I’ve gained success. I’ve become a blogger, a writer if you will, and I take the job seriously. I’m about to publish my 100th story soon, which to me is a momentous event, and I’d like the piece to include your comments about my achievement.”

“So you’re a writer, are you, Neil? I don’t like writers. They tend to be thinkers, and I don’t like thinkers either. What I like are doers, men who bulldoze their way through life. Men who bulldoze their way through nature, for that matter. Look at me. I’m a bulldozer, and everyone admires me. I’m so popular it’s ridiculous.”

All of a sudden I felt something weird starting to happen inside my mouth. My tongue, normally held well in place, was itching to flap wildly. I couldn’t control it. I’d come seeking a few words of support from the USA’s next leader, selfishly hoping to boost my blog’s readership as a result. But what I said next was guaranteed not to elicit kind responses.

I think he'd look better as a brunette. (Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
I think he’d look better as a brunette. (Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Getty Images)

“Donnie,” I said, “I guess you heard that Hillary is more popular than you, didn’t you? She won the popular vote, n’est pas? By a lot. You know, two months ago you were proclaiming that the election process was rigged in her favor. Seems like just the opposite was true. I mean, if it wasn’t for our demented Electoral College system you’d be spending your time right now deciding whether or not to change the color of your hair. Instead, you’re doing your best, like you have for months, to energize the haters who keep crawling out of the woodwork because of you.”

Donnie didn’t enjoy that. “Listen up, fifth alternate. You’re a loser. Did you hear me? I said loser. Me, I’m a winner.” He stopped talking. Someone was calling to him. “Stay right where you are, loser,” Donnie said a moment later. “I’ll be right back — ‘What’d you say, Rudy? That it’ll be a snap to obstruct poor peoples’ right to vote? And a snap to cancel environmental protection regulations? Keep it coming, Rudy. You’re the man!'”

Holy crap. The phone call wasn’t going well. It was bringing me down, not up. I decided to hang up on a future president. Which is what I did.

If kudos for my solid achievement weren’t to be found with Donnie, I was certain that they would be with Professor Oates, who for many years has taught at Princeton University, merely an hour’s drive from my suburban Philadelphia home. Three hours of trying to reach her via phone calls to university staff the other day finally paid off.

My phone rang. “Hello, this is Joyce Carol Oates. What may I do for you?”

“Professor, this is Neil Scheinin. Possibly you recall me from the marvelous class you taught six years ago, Faulkner, Bellow And Fitzgerald: As Novelists, Were They Really Any Good? I always sat in the first row in the seat nearest the exit, a bag of popcorn on my lap.”

“Ah yes, Mr. Scheinin. How could I forget? You are the gentleman who audited the course and managed never to add a perceptive or entertaining comment to the classroom discussions. What, sir, are you calling about?”

“Professor, as unexpected as this might be to you, believe it or not I have taken to writing like a duck to . . . well, maybe not to water, but to something. You see, last year I started blogging, and since then I’ve written up a storm. Right now I’m excited to be working on my 100th story. One hundred, Professor! A number that amazes me. Have you any comments about this?”

Joyce Carol Oates. (Photo: Thos Robinson/Getty Images)
Joyce Carol Oates. (Photo: Thos Robinson/Getty Images)

I almost could hear Professor Oates’ mind revving. It didn’t take long for her to respond. “Neil,” she said, “what you have done amounts to little. You say you’re about to complete your 100th story? And it took you months and months to do this? Why, I could write that many in a week. Possibly in four days if need be. But forget about stories . . . Do you have any idea how many books I’ve written, most of them long and detailed books? Over a hundred, Neil. Over a hundred. Call me back whenever your blog expands in size fiftyfold. Maybe then we’ll be able to have a satisfying and meaningful discussion.”

Well, here I am then with little more to say. I thought that this story might have had a chance to go viral had Donnie and Professor been more congenial interviewees. But such is life. Thanks for reading number 100. It’ll take some time for me to bounce back to my normal self, but I assure you that when that happens I’ll get to work on 101.

 

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40 thoughts on “My 100th Post: Donald Trump And Joyce Carol Oates Chime In

  1. vishal4u November 22, 2016 / 12:38 am

    Congrats on your 100 th post and hope you keep on entertaining and enriching our life with your post.
    Loved the 100 th post and your choice too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger November 22, 2016 / 1:06 pm

      Hi. Yeah, this is the most writing I’ve ever done. It kind of amazes me.

      Like

  2. sniderjerry November 22, 2016 / 6:57 am

    HATS OFF! THUMBS UP! GREAT WORK! I’m looking forward to the next 100.Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Joyce November 22, 2016 / 7:56 am

    Congratulations on your 100th ! Blog was funny …..enjoy more cheese its.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Janet Sunderland November 22, 2016 / 9:47 am

    Hahahahahaka. ..what a way to start my morning. Thank you. Now I have to go grocery shopping because my house is full of very big men (except for one daughter-in-law who is very small) and feed them. But I’ll be smiling as I do so. J.

    PS: Congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. greenpete58 November 22, 2016 / 11:42 am

    Congratulations, Neil…amazing that we coincide with the 100 milestone (you’re obviously much more prolific than me, however!). Keep on writing, I enjoy your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. K E Garland November 22, 2016 / 3:32 pm

    lol Congratulations on both your 100th post and hanging up on the president-elect 😉 Maybe you can go re-claim your rightful place with eating the Cheez-its? After all, our president-elect has proven that anything is possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Aunt Beulah November 22, 2016 / 9:59 pm

    This is a might fine post 100 because you made me laugh by treating both a man I dislike and a woman I admire in a humorous way. I never thought I’d be amused by either, but you managed it. I’m in awe of a mind that can think of basing a post on two such divergent personalities. What sort of weird mentality do you have? And did you warp into it by writing 100 posts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger November 23, 2016 / 8:44 am

      Hi Janet. You know, you might be right — I think I’ve been getting weirder ever since I started this blog!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. circumstance227 November 24, 2016 / 6:59 am

    As far as I am concerned, you won that debate with Donnie. Looking forward to Number 101.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fran Johns November 24, 2016 / 7:12 pm

    Maybe you should call Donnie back. So far, the advice he’s getting on appointments looks like he could use a new voice. Meanwhile, here’s to #101

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger November 25, 2016 / 6:54 am

      Hi Fran. I’ll wait a few days, and then I’ll ty to get Donnie back on the line!

      Like

  10. andrewcferguson November 25, 2016 / 1:26 pm

    Great work Neil. I genuinely lol’d, as the youth say. Keep those channels open with Donnie – you might be the fly in his ointment that he needs. Any time there’s news of him getting near the nuclear codes, just call him up and keep him talking!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Still the Lucky Few November 25, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    With people like you in the mix, and able to get Donnie on the phone, I’m a little less suicidal. Maybe when you are not blogging (don’t stop!) and have some time on your hands, you could twitter (tweet?) him and keep him occupied for a minute or two. That might be time enough to prevent him from appointing yet another crazy person to his cabinet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yeahanotherblogger November 25, 2016 / 9:42 pm

      Hi. I like your suggestion. I never wanted to get involved with social media, but for the good of the world I might have to set up a Twitter account!

      Like

  12. aprilswopegreene November 27, 2016 / 9:59 pm

    I feel like we could portmanteau a couple of lines from this post into another truism about Ol’ Donnie: He’s taking to this President-Elect role like a duck to… well, maybe not to water, but to something.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sara Wright November 28, 2016 / 10:05 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed your 100th story – especially the part about Trump. Nothing about that man creates anything resembling laughter in me but you did! Thank you and congratutions!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. viewfromoverthehill December 2, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    I’d say it’s hilarious, except I don’t find much about the Donald funny except his hairdo. I delight in your warped humor. Keep it up. All the best, Muriel

    Liked by 1 person

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