Dear Nobel Committees,
I know this is a big week for you. If your approach to deadlines is anything like my approach to deadlines, you just barely scraped together the physics award for the Higgs Boson on coffee and willpower and then, after having a single drink to celebrate your success, found yourself completely overwhelmed and slept in until 10, when it occurred to you that you were supposed to be awarding a prize for Chemistry in 30 minutes, so you embarrassingly wound up giving it to Marie Curie posthumously, “because you can never give Marie Curie too many Nobel Prizes.” That, as I said, is what would happen if you were me, but fortunately you are not me, so you actually found three deserving chemists. Good for you, Nobel Committees!
What I mean to say is: I know what you’re going through. So many prizes, so little time to award them! Physics! Chemistry! Literature! Peace! Economics!
And then the instant you do make an award, everyone’s first thought is that they have never heard of that person because as far as they were concerned, literature stopped at the Atlantic (No, not that side of the Atlantic, the other side of the Atlantic).
I know you have an actual process. I know there are nominations and committees and people scrying into your takeout orders. I hope you are giving Malala Yousafzai all the consideration she richly deserves. But here are a few dark horses I think you should consider:
President Obama: This time, for literature! Not for the books he’s written already, but for the infinite potential of the books he might write.
Me: I am not saying that I totally 100% deserve every inch of this prize, but three weeks ago I wrote a really passionate defense of the pumpkin Spice Latte, so, you know, that’s got Nobel Laureate written all over it.
Like previous laureate German-Romanian Herta Muller, most people in America have not heard of me, but I offer an added bonus compared to Herta Muller in that most readers of German-Romanian novels have not heard of me either.
I know what you are thinking right now: Will such early success be stunting? No. No, it really won’t. Don’t worry about that. Give me the early success first, and then we can deal with that down the line. Early success followed by years of wandering around feeling sort of at a loss worked out fine for F. Scott Fitzgerald, except for the part where his drinking killed him. My point is, we can haggle.
I know, too, that it is perhaps frowned on for people to toot their own Nobel horns. But these days, we don’t live by the old customs. These days, everyone has to be their own promoter, which is why I have spent the past eight years marching around downtown dressed as a carnival barker. Plus, I promise that if I win I will just read William Faulkner’s acceptance speech again, which really is all that anyone wants to hear.
Miley Cyrus: Okay, I hear you saying, “this isn’t ‘literature,’ ” but maybe you could give her some kind of honorable peace mention, since every minute we spend talking about Miley is a minute we do not spend dwelling on serious questions like religious differences and territorial disputes, which are historically responsible for violent conflict.
Tommy Wiseau: This is the least he deserves for creating “The Room.” If it doesn’t count as “literature” or “peace,” give him the economics prize. All actual economists do is confuse us by disagreeing about what should be done with interest rates.
An actual dark horse: People often talk about dark horse candidates but you never see them being seriously considered.
The Maybe Six People Alive Who Haven’t Written Weighty Thinkpieces About Miley Cyrus Yet: These humans are international treasures and deserve everything that is coming to them.