Excerpt from "A Week on the Set with the Wal-Mart Smiley," from McSweeney's:
Saturday, May 8, 2004, 5:22 a.m. Know what my sister does for a living? Spelling tests. When Timmy gets nineteen out of twenty, she goes on top of the paper. She is the mark of accomplishment. And what do I represent? A store that found a John Cougar Mellencamp album cover too provocative. (You're next, Hornsby.) What else? Lemonade-stand wages. A corporation that prices independent retailers out of existence and rewards complicit communities with a couple of jungle gyms. I know I should try to laugh all this off, but I can't. All I can do is smile.
Then I come home and write in this stupid journal. Did I mention I have to hold the pen in an eye socket?
The 264-page hard cover book is bound with a giant, folded, comic-festooned dustjacket (an enormous dust jacket that does much more than guard against dust, as it says on the website). It took me right back to the way the Sunday paper used to arrive on my childhood doorstep, and it conjured up that same sense of excitement.