In this Book

The Early Posthumous Work
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summary
A collection of essays and occasional pieces on gambling, teaching, snakes, dogs, cars, hitchhiking, marriage and sophistication, memory and work, and a dozen other subjects. One essay announces that the two dollar bill can buy happiness and reports some resistance to this discovery. Another studies the art of life as ne'er-do-well, a sort of prequel to the "slacker" phenomenon, written and published in Austin, Texas. In yet another essay, everyone's first name is Philip, (except the comet). Certain liberties are taken with the form. Pieces originally appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, Oxford American, the Texas Observer, Connecticut Review, Apalachee Quarterly, and other newspapers, magazines, and anthologies.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page, Copyright, Acknowledgments, Dedication
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Section I. Kid Stuff
  2. p. 1
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  1. An Ironic Dog’s Prospects
  2. pp. 3-6
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  1. Snakes, Snobs and Sanctuary
  2. pp. 7-10
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  1. Christmas Tree Fort War
  2. pp. 11-14
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  1. Pop? In a Hat? C’mon.
  2. pp. 15-18
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  1. Not As I Recall
  2. pp. 19-23
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  1. Off to Work We Go
  2. pp. 24-28
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  1. Section II. Second Best Friend
  2. p. 29
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  1. Fancy Girl, Fancy Car
  2. pp. 31-34
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  1. Second Best Friend
  2. pp. 35-40
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  1. The Back Porch
  2. pp. 41-44
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  1. Out There, Lucky and Loose
  2. pp. 45-48
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  1. Just Passing Through
  2. pp. 49-52
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  1. Section III. C’mon, I’m Serious
  2. p. 53
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  1. House of Ideas
  2. pp. 55-61
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  1. Now We See Us, Now We Don’t
  2. pp. 62-65
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  1. Fan in Exile
  2. pp. 66-69
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  1. You Easterners Aren’t Bad at All
  2. pp. 70-72
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  1. Proust at Lunch
  2. pp. 73-76
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  1. Mississippi: Idiosyncratic, Incomprehensible, and Air-Conditioned
  2. pp. 77-86
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  1. Louisiana, Home of the Blues
  2. pp. 87-93
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  1. Urban Farmer, Amiable Crop
  2. pp. 94-97
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  1. An Old Acquaintance
  2. pp. 98-100
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  1. Gamblers
  2. pp. 101-109
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  1. People’s Right to Allegedly, Sort of Know
  2. pp. 110-113
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  1. I Do, I Do
  2. pp. 114-117
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  1. A Thirty-Five-Year-Old Book Review
  2. pp. 118-124
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  1. Section IV. A Cubist Take on Teaching
  2. p. 125
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  1. Some Notes on Teaching and Writing
  2. pp. 127-128
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  1. I. What I Did Last Autumn
  2. pp. 129-133
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  1. II. Writing Workshops, a Tiny Testimonial
  2. pp. 134-136
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  1. III. Some TA
  2. pp. 137-139
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  1. IV. First Class (Letter to a Friend)
  2. pp. 140-146
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  1. Section V. Thousand-Word Wisecracks
  2. p. 147
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  1. Enough Already
  2. pp. 149-151
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  1. Forget Mercurochrome
  2. pp. 152-155
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  1. Beautiful Deuces
  2. pp. 156-158
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  1. Random Telephone
  2. pp. 159-162
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  1. Kung Fu Defended
  2. pp. 163-169
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  1. The Newsweek Short Story: Celestial Puzzler
  2. pp. 170-173
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  1. Don’t Move: A Memoir
  2. pp. 174-178
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  1. About the Author
  2. p. 179
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