Introduction Dear Judd Apatow: We’re thinking about publishing a sequel to
You’re a Horrible Person, But I Like You. It’d be more or less the same thing as the first book, except with mostly different people, and different questions. Are we being redundant? Thanks,
The Believer magazine San Francisco, CA
Dear The Believer:
I really don’t know how to answer that question. There is a larger issue, which is: Why am I writing the intro to this book at all?
This is a mistake I keep making, saying yes to things for no apparent reason. I don’t know if it is because I get insecure or I need an ego stroke, but I keep finding myself in the same position, stuck with something I don’t want to do but said yes to because someone did a good job kissing my ass.
I don’t even understand what you want. Am I supposed to write something logical, or absurd? I have no idea.
I don’t even know if this book is for charity or if someone is going to make a shitload of money off it. I kind of always assumed it benefited some charity, but I don’t think that is correct. I also have the vague notion that the entire publishing empire that’s releasing it is a nonprofit, but I have no proof and am probably wrong about that. Or I am right.
One thing I do know is I get paid very well for my time and money and I am getting paid zero dollars to write this and that makes no sense at all.
I can’t even remember who asked me to do it. Probably someone who seemed smart and who made me feel like less of a dick-joke-writing idiot by asking, and I got all excited for all of five minutes till I realized it actually required real work.
I wouldn’t be writing this at all if Paul Rudd wasn’t ten minutes late to our meeting. If he’d been on time, today would have been the day I worked up the nerve to bail on this assignment so they could go manipulate some other insecure Jewish man into doing it.
Why not ask a non-Jew? Why not ask a woman? An African American? Someone from South America? Aren’t people ready for some new flavors of comedy at this point? I know I am. I might move to Nicaragua for a year or two just to come up with a new comedic angle that’s not based on my Jewish mother’s influence and child rearing. Maybe if I started a junta I could write a fresh joke. What is a junta? I need to find out.
Where the hell is Paul Rudd? He is always late. He was never late when his career wasn’t going well, but ever since I Love You, Man
he could give a fuck about wasting my time.
Oh, there he is. Hey, Paul! You look good. I like the beard.
Judd A Second Attempt at an Introduction Dear Patton: So listen, we’re doing this book of advice and we asked Judd Apatow to write the intro, and it didn’t really work out. We don’t want to get into it, but it has something to do with Paul Rudd’s career going well. Anyway, is there a chance you might like to take a crack at it? The introduction, we mean. Thanks in advance,
The Believer magazine San Francisco, CA
Dear The Believer
Wait, so Judd “Heavyweights” Apatow is too busy to finish his introduction and so you figured, “Oh, let’s get Patton ‘Basic Cable Day Player’ Oswalt to pick up the slack”? I will bet money you used that exact phrase because I really like losing money.
I mean, how busy can I possibly be, right?
“Quite” to “nearly ‘very,’ ” as it turns out! So I hope your readers appreciate the projects I’ve back-burnered so that there can be a full introduction to this book. And as you read this book, think for a moment about the:
Unalphabetized Travis McGee books on my shelf
Overflowing trash can in my kitchen
Unwatched (and thus undeleted) episodes of Justified
on my DVR
Not uneaten Rye Krisps, consumed due to the stress of having to write this
Now I will end this introduction early to make it further appear I am busy, just like Judd.
See? I’m making it in Hollywood!
Patton Zach Galifianakis Dear Zach: I think I understand what dogs are saying. I don’t have a dog, but there are a lot in my neighborhood. Is this possible or am I crazy? Jed Resick Brooklyn, NY
You could really help a lot of people if this is the case. Is it not worth exploring? Meaning, shouldn’t you volunteer yourself to a university study on the subject? You must take this seriously. I feel like my family dog, a golden retriever named Zorba, would have loved to have a human translator. Looking back, I imagine it would’ve gone like this:
ZORBA (in a translated bark
): I ain’t interested in fetching no more tennis balls.
ME: Throw some more and see if he gets it.
ZORBA: I got to figure out how to get into the house. I feel a cold front moving in from the west.
ME: Zorba’s coat is so thick, he is fine out in the snow.
ZORBA: Jesus Christ, this family is thick. How long do I have to bark before they let me in the basement that is only two degrees warmer?
ME: I am going to take you to the apple festival, Zorba, so everyone will want to pet you and you can wag your tail to show how happy you are.
ZORBA: That tail wagging is a nervous tic. I got some sort of dog diabetes going on and you mistake it for happiness. Does it not make you wonder why my testicles are the size of bocce balls?
… Dear Zach: I really should see a dermatologist, but I just don’t have the time (or health insurance). What’s the difference between a good mole and a bad mole? E. Jackson Melbourne, FL
Location, really. It all depends on where it is. One on the eyelid is not good. One in the mouth is not good. The anus is not a bad place to have one but showing it off causes a problem. A good place is on the face. A small one on the cheek is classy and expresses a worldliness that you do not get from a wart. If you do have one on the face, make sure that it is hairless, seeing as haired moles went out of fashion after the Renaissance but are still fashionable at Renaissance festivals. I once had a mole on the right side of my chin as a youth and my mother decided to freeze it off, fearing that it would grow into something that looked like a burnt silver-dollar pancake. I regret that thing is gone. It defined me. I was eight years old but because of that mole I could get away with smoking a pipe and no one would even care. So, location.
Zach Amy Sedaris Dear Amy: Last summer, my wife and I inherited three hermit crabs from her eight-year-old nephew when he went to camp. It’s been six months and we’re still stuck crabsitting. I’m worried that if I flush them down the toilet, they’ll morph into supersized megacrabs, crawl back through the pipes, and seek revenge. What’s the best way to “take care” of a hermit crab? Eric J. Fetterman New York, NY P.S. Do you have any interest in three hermit crabs? They don’t take up much space.
“Taking care” of a hermit crab is a delicate operation. Hermit crabs are an unruly sort, possessing a large pincer and—believe you me—they’re just waiting for a chance to clamp that claw into a major artery in your neck. Never turn your back on a hermit crab. Now, the first thing you have to do is coax the crab out of its shell. I suggest either using a piece of meat or appealing to the crab’s ceaseless and fanatical lust for the opposite sex. This second option would require you to either provide a decoy or act as a decoy. Once the crab is out of its shell, pounce. Bring the wrath of God down upon the crab’s tiny and spongy exoskeleton in the form of a large brick. Make sure you are accurate with your first blow, because the last thing you want on your hands is an agitated hermit crab.
P.S. Thank you for your generous offer, but after spending last July at a three-day jazz festival, where I shacked up in a makeshift lean-to with a percussionist I just met named Zobo, I already have more crabs than I could possibly care for.
… Dear Amy: Why isn’t anyone worried about me? An Inquiring Mom Readfield, Maine P.S. I asked this question of my daughter just minutes ago, and she suggested your column as a place to air my concerns about myself.
This is a tough one. I wish I could say that nobody is worried about you because you are so well grounded and capable, but we both know deep in our hearts that that is a lie. It’s pretty clear that you are a train on the verge of derailment. You are a speeding vehicle and the wheels have come off. So, why doesn’t anybody care? Could it be that your existence barely registers as a blip on the human-awareness scale? As Occam’s razor states, the simplest explanation is the best. I suppose a better question to consider than “Why isn’t anyone worried about me?” might be “How can I exact a horrible revenge on my thoughtless offspring?” There’s a question I can sink my fangs into.
Amy Nick Hornby Dear Nick: What, in your opinion, is the best song for lovemaking? Claire and Judd
Dear Claire and Judd:
There isn’t one best song, of course. There are two. For common or garden-, post-TV sex, “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones is the one. It lasts a little over two minutes, and “Hey! Ho! Let’s go” is a very useful opening chant, especially if you two have just started dating. The rhythm is good, too! If it’s a scented-candle anniversary extravaganza, then you need Yes’s prog-rock classic “Yours Is No Disgrace.” My sexual partners have always appreciated the confidence-boosting title, which is helpfully repeated over and over in the chorus, and at over nine minutes, the song allows you to get through pretty much every sexual position ever invented, and still leaves you time for a smoke.
… Dear Nick: Can you please explain how the Amazon ranking system works? David Carle Estacada, OR
Say you have published a book. Well, if you look it up on Amazon, the ranking system will tell you how good it is, compared with all the other books that have ever been published. Glenn Beck’s The 7: Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life
, for example, is, at the time of writing, the fifth greatest book ever written; Philip Roth’s American Pastoral
, by contrast, ranks at 15,441. (Mr. Roth should think about that, and learn from his mistakes, but that’s not our concern here.) I say “at the time of writing” because people are writing great books every second of every day, so there is a chance that Glenn Beck will have slipped a bit by the time you read this. And a chance that Philip Roth will have climbed in the rankings. I doubt it, though. I don’t know you, David Carle, and I’m not going to do any research. But if you have written a book, I’m guessing that it’s not as good as The 7
, but it is better than American Pastoral
. This is true of a lot of books, more than fifteen thousand of them.
Excerpted from Care To Make Love In That Gross Little Space Between Cars? by Edited by The Believer with Introductions by Judd Apatow and Patton Oswalt. Copyright © 2012 by Believer Inc. All selections are copyright to the contributors.. Excerpted by permission of Vintage, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.