He sits quietly on the top row, hovering above 8 like a bad hangover. * is the nice guy of the keyboard, and his uses are often overlooked. Think of all the nasty little words that are made acceptable by his presence. You can take a bunch of really rough, crude characters and make them fairly tame – simply by putting * with them. "Crap", for example, is awful and smelly. But bring in our friend and you get "cr*p" – a far more pleasant substance. Stepping on cr*p isn't nearly as bad as stepping on crap.
* can be compared to the well-mannered, diplomatic personality that tends to make the rowdier types behave themselves. The kind of chap that your grandmother would like you to spend more time with. Our friend also has a lot going for him. No matter how much time he spends with unpleasant characters, they don't seem to tarnish his reputation. When I spend one night with rough characters, drinking too much beer and acting like a degenerate, then everybody's worried about my self-destructive tendencies. But * frequents the dingiest, grottiest sentences – the kind of places that most characters wouldn't be seen dead in, and he stays squeaky-clean. He is incorruptible and badly unappreciated.
also in this issue/category...
- 100 Papers
- A Quest to Understand the Stigma of HIV/Aids
- Beauty's Gift
- Blood Kin
- Double Cross
- Drinking from the Dragon's Well
- Footnotes in Yiddish
- Galgut's Take on Adam's Fall
- Ode to *
- On Games, Art and Shades of Gray
- Out of the Wreckage
- Pompidou Posse
- The Best American Travel Writing Series
- Transformation in Need of Ghostbusters