Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Neutrino Clock Offense

Jill and I were in Rosarito, Mexico for the last few days, feasting on lobster Puerto Nuevo style and staying out of the cold, sharky waters. We brought along two books for the beach, Michael Chabon’s new Yiddish Policeman’s Union and Alec Wilkinson’s The Happiest Man in the World. I’ve enjoyed Wilkinson’s New Yorker writings about flatfooting it in Wellfleet, but my interest in the Happiest Man is closer to home. Its subject, Poppa Neutrino, is my friend Ingrid’s father, and I spent the afternoon with him back in New Orleans in November while I took a break from the Pirate’s Alley Words and Music Festival. He explained to me his Neutrino Clock Offense for football, which made sense, and plans he was making for crossing the Pacific Ocean in a raft made out of trash. Considering we were having this conversation in a backyard still drying out from a month underwater, such plans seemed completely reasonable. Stranger things had been discussed in that backyard. Before we moved away from New Orleans, at a barbecue in that backyard, a parrot had fallen into the yard and waddled toward our chairs, and hung out for an hour before flying away again.

Of course I wish I’d written the book about Poppa Neutrino, or that he’d written his own book. But I’m glad Wilkinson got around to it. Hiss account of spending time with Poppa is excellent, and generous, and appropriately flipping between skepticism and revelation. It’s Lawrence Wechsler territory; an exhibition about Poppa Neutrino belongs in the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

1 comment:

jrlennon said...

I remember those parrots, flying overhead while we sat in your backyard drinking beer. Or maybe we were just talking, but it felt like drinking.

Fine, long category list there, sir.