Yesterday I stumbled upon an entirely new genre of literature. While searching for a Sonny Rollins disc on amazon.com, I happened upon the following customer review of Saxophone Colossus:
Among the finest jazz works ever. Typically, I order mayonnaise as my condiment of choice on a sandwich. But after my cat's death, I can't seem to come to terms with mayonnaise anymore. Silly right? It's not like I blame mayo for my cat's death — I think it has something to do with the opening of the jar. "Buttons" would always run into the kitchen if she heard me opening the mayo jar. But now, I open the jar and there's nothing. Just me and my empty apartment. My life didn't realy end up how I thought it would. I thought for sure Sonja would say yes when I asked her to marry me and I'd have a better job. But she looked so disappointed when I asked that I knew that she was going to choose Greg instead of me. He was already successful and had his own car. I was an aspiring writer, not much to bank on there. Now years later, I'm still aspiring, while she's driving a big Mercury SUV. Sonny Rollins rocks.
Now, I was not entirely sure that this customer, Jake, hadn't perhaps had a small psychotic break in the midst of assessing Rollins for Amazon; nevertheless, I was impressed. I began to wonder about Jake. Has he finally published outside of amazon.com? Well, this I don't know, but what I do know is that he has published considerably more within amazon.com. When I clicked on "see all my reviews," I found that Jake had, as I say, created an entirely new genre of literary text: the tiny confessional narrative, hidden within the Amazon merchandise review. The following small masterpiece appears on the page devoted to Welding Metallurgy by Shinto Lu.
But don't most of us already know the basics of metallurgy? It reminds me of the time I saw my brother smoking cigarettes behind the garage. He had stolen them from my mother and didn't really seem to be enjoying himself. But he smoked the whole pack. As he finished, I thought to myself, "what a loser." But the fact was I had sat there for 45 minutes watching him smoke all those cigarettes. So, I guess I was even a bigger loser. A moniker that stayed with me most of my teenage life. I didn't dislike school, I got to see a lot of pretty girls that would never have sat next to me anywhere else. I didn't get good grades, as I was addicted to after-school cartoons like Tom & Jerry. Even well into my teens. If I see them now, I watch them in totality looking for what appealed to me when I was younger. I can't find it.
While Jake's Welding Metallurgy review is to be commended for having attached itself to such an inspired book, I do find that it represents a decline in structural nuance: Jake's Saxophone Colossus review returns, in the final sentence, to the actual merchandise at hand — if nothing else, this is a more successful attempt at hiddenness, which is the essence of all esoteric writing. And the Jakean narrative is, most certainly, esoteric.