Born to Raise Heck

By Gene Weingarten
Sunday, February 5, 2006

I always wanted to be a bad-boy author. I would write a memoir so disgusting, confessing to depravities so sordid and crimes so heinous that literary critics would lionize me for my "searing honesty." Oprah would weep at the pain I had suffered and absolve me of the pain I caused. Hot young chicks would dig my vulnerability and flock to me. And I would become very, very rich.

The problem is, I haven't been all that heinous. And even if I put as much bad-boy spin as possible on my actual transgressions, it just wouldn't really do the trick:

It was gray outside, gray and mottled, like the pigeon-flecked tombstone that passes for my soul. He stood before me, old, hunched over, vulnerable. I knew what I was going to do, and it wasn't good. And it wasn't moral. And it wasn't legal. And it wasn't nice. "Nice" is not in my vocabulary. "Morality" is not my bag. I didn't even have a bag. So when he finished pooping, I just tugged on his leash and walked on, flagrantly violating municipal Ordinance 23-107b (1978) pertaining to pet waste retrieval and disposal.

See, that was never going to work. But now we have the remarkable case of James Frey, who wrote exactly the memoir I never could. Last year, A Million Little Pieces became a bestseller because it confessed to a degenerate life of jaw-dropping immorality and wanton violence -- a two-decade bacchanalia of drugs, crime and other misdeeds that shocked the conscience of civilized society. Oprah did weep. Critics did fawn. Chicks did (a guess here) flock.

Trouble is, A Million Little Pieces has now been exposed as a million little sleazy fabrications. While not admitting it is complete fiction, Frey concedes he made up a bunch of stuff. It is partly a lie.

I had no idea you could do that! I am now hard at work on my partly true memoir. For your convenience, I will do what Frey didn't. I will highlight in boldface those parts that I am exaggerating, for increased literary value:

I entered the office, angry, and hunted down my editor.

"Why did you cut my last paragraph?" I demanded.

"Because it was infantile, vulgar and not remotely funny."

"Really?" I said, extracting a switchblade from my pocket. "Perhaps you will find this more to your liking," I hissed, slicing open his belly like a ripe cantaloupe, grabbing his pancreas in my fist and eating it raw as he gurgled to death at my feet. Then I sat down at my desk to write my next column.

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"I now pronounce you man and wife," said the city hall clerk. I turned to kiss my bride.


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