A slice of Pi and a cup of joe schmo

life-of-piThere’s a reason I don’t recommend books to people. I’m lousy at it.

My book referral system was set in stone (boots) from the time I loaned my copy of Peter Benchley’s Jaws to my high school girlfriend. Right before she left for the shore. It’s a miracle she didn’t return with a tat of some lifeguard named Sando stitched across her ass. Maybe if she had, I would have stopped recommending books to people.

Experience hasn’t helped. If anything, I became progressively worse at recommending books as time went on. Like the time I recommended The Da Vinci Code to a church friend, who damn near had a nervous breakdown after reading it.  My takeaway lesson from this episode wasn’t to quit recommending books, it was to quit the church. There was the time I recommended The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to a friend . . who had just been fired. And the time I recommended Naked Lunch to a girl who had a habit of reading aloud. And a little advice?- Never recommend The Sound and the Fury to someone with ADD.

Anyways, I went back in the water. Yep, I recommended a book. Not just any book, but one of my favorite reads, Life of Pi. I figured if I was dealing from the heart, I couldn’t go wrong. Thanks for bupkus, Jane Seymour!

Here’s an excerpt . . .

“How did you like the book?” I asked.

“Ugh . . .” Was her reply.

A dubious beginning to any response, considering the history of the word.

A brief history of Ugh

“How was the play Mrs. Lincoln?


See what I mean?

“. . . I’m still reading it, but it’s so hard to get through.” She continued.

My brain was stuck in a quagmire of less than adequate responses whilst I prayed for an asteroid to shear the awkward silence. My short list was coming back emptier than the Fed.

Possible responses:

A) Apologize
B) Laugh maniacally until she ran away
C) Inform her she had been the subject of a sociological experiment. Hand her $100 dollars for her trouble
D) Tell her I had a week to live
E) Tell her I was the author, Yann Martel
F) Both D and E

It didn’t make sense. She is from India, a land of conjurers and a million Gods and Bengal tigers in every backyard. I know that sounds horribly stereotypical but no worries, I’m an American.

“Have you seen the movie?” I suggested.

“There’s a movie?”

Well, obviously the woman is living under a rock if she didn’t have a clue about an Academy Award winning masterpiece . . available on Blu-ray, no less! I no longer felt ashamed of my crack profiling job. Okay, I really didn’t feel ashamed to begin with.

For all I know, maybe she’d assumed Life of Pi was a recipe book. And here I was, subjecting her to a story with nary a chiffon or lemon meringue to be had. And no, Pondicherry doesn’t count.

Let this be a lesson to you, that stereotyping people can be a dangerous thing. I happened to luck out in this instance, since Indian people are pacifists.


33 thoughts on “A slice of Pi and a cup of joe schmo

  1. Tell you what, I could sit down until I went into a diabetic coma….eating every last one of those puppies. And going for a run to burn ’em off, pffft! I ain’t running to Montana.

  2. Let it be known I never recommended the movie (even though I think you really should see it because I know you would enjoy). As for the book, where were you when I was busy recommending it to someone else? You would have cut to the quick with a big, fat and simple “Hell no”.

  3. Concur with The Hook, Cayman. Brilliant. Please don’t quit recommending books. It’d be great if you joined me on goodreads where you could recommend books to scores of people. Really shake things up 😉

  4. You are funny. Thank you for sharing, and a book recommended is a wonderful thing. If you enjoyed it, another might as well. Whilst I appreciated and liked the movie version so much as to see it once, I do not especially know if I would toil through the book read (which I thank you for making me aware, now, exists). Perhaps if there is an audio version… it could be considered.

  5. Thank you for the laughs. i recommend “the shack” by Paul Young. changed how i view God. When you look at a human who was molested since he was a little kid and see how God taught him forgiveness how can you not believe God is love. heads up that isn’t what book is about. it’s about his daughter being kidnapped and killed and finding forgiveness for the killer. The first part is what really happened to author. There is FREEDOM IN FORGIVENESS. there’s one of your seven habits to be highly effective. what did you get out of book life of pi if I may ask?

    • Life of Pi? I’ve read it several times over and it always brings me something new. The first time I read the book, I remembered how beautiful a thing it was to get lost in the words of a story, as if breadcrumbs leading to the answers.

      • you are an amazing writer. That is why if God can turn me into one, you know He had EVERYTHING TO DO WITH IT. of course i am not dare saying i am a writer. just love to do it now. The auidance will decide if i can claim that title. Pray i start reading again that way i might just read PI book. till then i”m stuck having no urge to read.

  6. I couldn’t take the depictions of animal suffering in the movie Life of Pi, even though I knew they were necessary to get the point across. I doubt I would fare better with the book.

  7. LOVED the book (Life of Pi), and was so excited to see the movie. Made the mistake of taking my husband, who yawned and fidgeted for the entirety. He has since called it one of the worst he’s ever seen.

    Admittedly, the movie paled in comparison to the book, but still, I didn’t think it was *that* bad.

    Fried apple pieeeee…. ((drool!))

    • Running, I rather enjoyed the film, I thought Lee did an amazing job of translating a story I never would have imagined on the silver screen. The book will always be my favorite way to have some Pi though, I’m not gonna lie.

  8. Thanks for no spoilers. I bought the book 4 months ago…have refused to watch the movie until I read the book (I’m funny like that) and because of my manic crazy life…STILL stare at the book next to my bed as it whimpers “read me already dammit”!

    I’m proud of you for remaining a recommender C….besides.. the church lady probably needed to know there’s more to the church than meets the eye..as for the girlfriend leaving for the shore…Jaws was a brilliant choice, can’t believe she didn’t stay on the dry land…what a moron.

    Love your wacky writing ways C –


    • K,

      The book will be there when you get around to it. Until such time, your night table will serve as its delicate prison, awaiting release. And no way mama, I won’t give away the big car chase ending or the Iron Man cameo. As for the book love, I’m not gonna stop giving it out. Perhaps some would consider my recommendations a literary STD, but I’m undeterred.
      Hope the house is coming along well and work/school/family is not stretching you any thinner. Be cool ‘Bama.

  9. Dude I was scared to read this post because I’m actually still reading Life of Pi and was worried about spoilers or surprises. Dude and I love it so far I’m close to finishing … I’ve been lose to finishing for a while then I can see the movie … crazy Ang Lee. But I gotta say this post was hilarious you crack me up. Keep up with your recommendations … they make for funny stories. The DaVinci Code to your catholic friend … ha that was too funny. But no worries I read it too and I didn’t have a heart attack I thought it was pretty good 🙂

  10. Mousse girl, I would NEVER give away an ending. Pi is a keeper and I want peeps to read on. Ang Lee does such an amazing job of translating this to the screen. I went in with plenty of misgivings but he really did it.

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