by L. D. Brodsky
These days of his post-senior citizenship, in the republic of late-age languishers, he finds it as easy to go as to stay. It's not that places are closer, transportation more efficient, quicker, cheaper, so much as that leaving is irresistible. Death makes it inviting, enticing, by not restricting admittance to its necropolises: oases, exotic isles, gardens, pleasure domes, Heaven. Those from all provinces, dominions, principalities, orders, genuses, species, and religious, ethnic, gender, and sexual predilections are welcome anytime, night or day. And it offers a variety of cut-rate packages, guaranteed to fit everybody's budget, from wards of the welfare state to Bill Gates.
But the greatest incentive to depart with whatever frequency chance or fancy allows is that when he does, he takes his entire earthly estate with him. He has nothing that if stolen or destroyed (by vandals or acts of God irrelevant) could affect his utter nothingness, since he rents the implements of his existence by the hour. He doesn't even own his clothes, false teeth, prosthetic hips, pacemaker, colostomy bag; his sofa, bed, toilet, stove, medicine, and moods are part of a lease-to-own program.
What most suits his circumstances, these days, is that even his senses don't know when he takes leave. The last time he had such total freedom was before birth, ninety years ago.
In Pigskinizations, L.D. Brodsky's seventh book of short fictions, a potpourri of functionally dysfunctional characters assembles itself for public inspection: a married man with a snoring problem, who finds complete bliss on his porch; a couple who've found separation to be the secret to the perfect marriage, and another, who prematurely celebrate the termination of their ant infestation; an apartment dweller who has a commuter train running through his bedroom; an evangelical peddler of insecticide and a traveling salesman purveying marital aids to a drug-addled poet; a college student with an arousing tattoo; an animal lover who revels in "walking" his pet boa constrictor; and two men who see themselves for what they really are — an ape and a dinosaur. And through six of the stories, Brodsky's foul-mouthed, language-butchering auto-assembly-line worker survives the "K-Y2 viral," to "celebate Nude Year's Eve" and the "Stupor Bowl 34 x 2 +1" victory of his hometown "St. Louis Cardinal Rams."
A collection of short fictions depicting the confusions and wrong-headedness of modern American life (among the hoi polloi). One part humor, two misanthropy. For those who missed breakfast with the gang at the café, Mr. Brodsky will supply the patter and patois. The author’s poetically licensed love of language leads to a great deal of punning and slanging (and literary/cultural allusions far beyond the ken of his ’regular folks’) and hash slinging bone motes all over the diner. The book reads as if he had a great deal of fun writing it (humor can be like that). But as a publisher myself, I have to wonder who the intended audience is. Perhaps those willing to go beyond Tom Wolfe’s flailing attempts to be a modern Dickens. Better to have (as Mr. Brodsky does) the tongue firmly placed in cheek than sticking out (as Mr. Wolfe does to his enemies, those lesser gods).