JASON: I’M NOT SO SURE ABOUT GARRISON KEILLOR.
Jason: You’re not? And why’s that? Is it because he looks like a bulldog-rodent hybrid?
THAT MIGHT BE IT.
And it has nothing to do with his writing? His storytelling ability? His, how do you say, “faux-folksiness?”
SO YOU THINK IT’S ALL AN ACT? JUST ONE BIG ACT. HE’S AN ACTOR. THIS IS WHAT YOU’RE TRYING TO TELL ME.
I’m merely suggesting. Of course I don’t know him.
NO ONE KNOWS HIM, JASON. NO ONE. NOT EVEN HIS WIFE REALLY KNOWS HIM.
Did you know that his real name is actually just Gary?
YES, I SAW THAT ON WIKIPEDIA AS WELL.
JUST THINK OF THAT FIRST CONVO HE HAD WITH HIS THIRD WIFE. I MEAN, WIKIPEDIA WASN’T AROUND WHEN THEY MET, SO SHE PROBABLY HADN’T GOOGLED THE HELL OUT OF HIM THE WAY YOU GOOGLE THE HELL OUT OF EVERYTHING WITH A PULSE.
Hey. It’s a good way to get to know people.
SURE. BUT JUST THINK OF WHAT THAT FIRST CONVO WITH HIS NOW-WIFE WAS LIKE WAY BACK WHEN, YOU KNOW, WHEN HE WASN’T MARRIED TO HER. THAT TIME WHEN HE FINALLY DECIDED TO TELL HER: “BABY. I WASN’T BORN A GARRISON.” IMAGINE HER SHOCK.
Isn’t she much younger?
Hmm. Maybe she didn’t care. Maybe she was into Garrison for Garrison, and she realized that the name was just a name.
LET’S NOT BE SILLY. I MEAN HE CHANGED HIS NAME TO GARRISON TO APPEAR MORE ELITE. HE’S JUST A GARY.
Is that why he did it? Elitism?
PROBABLY. IT CERTAINLY WASN’T TO APPEAR MORE SCANDINAVIAN; OR AT LEAST GARRISON CERTAINLY DOESN’T SOUND LIKE A SCANDINAVIAN NAME. IT SOUNDS LIKE THE NAME OF A MAN WHO OWNS LAND. LAND AND SHOT GUNS.
Hmm. What do you think of his actual writing? You know, his words.
I CAN’T JUDGE HIS FICTION PROPERLY BECAUSE I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT HIM WHEN I READ IT. I MEAN, YES, IT’S COMMERCIAL AND SORTA SHITTY AND FORUMLAIC AND ALWAYS KINDA DUMB, AND ALL OF THAT, BUT PART OF ME REFUSES TO CALL IT BAD.
Which part of you? The part of you that wonders if you’re all of those things? The part of you that yearns for riches, commercial success, a speedboat full of oiled-up lads?
–Jason Zabel is a hungry, hungry hippo