I, pundit

Lars Walker futures took a sudden surge upward today, still down from their 1996 highs but well above their recent bargain basement valuation.

Investor interest rose on news of Walker’s sale of an opinion piece to The American Spectator website. The essay, reported to be a humorous attack on the fashion habits of American seniors, is expected to appear on the magazine’s online service some time this week….

Thanks are due to Hunter Baker, a TAS writer and a frequent commenter here, for badgering me into trying something I’d never done before in a paying market, something I was quite certain I couldn’t carry off. Ben Stein writes for the Spectator site, for Pete’s sake. Who am I?

But man, acceptance feels good.

It’s really pathetic, you know, how much I require tangible validation, how needy I am for credentials. Paul Johnson, in his wicked, marvelous book Intellectuals, tells how Henrik Ibsen (one of my least favorite Norwegians, right down there with Vidkun L. J. Quisling) used to petition the Swedish crown (Sweden ruled Norway in those days) whenever he heard about a medal he hadn’t been awarded yet. And then he’d wear his whole collection on his suit—not just the ribbons but the actual “gongs”—whenever he went out, jingling down the street like a horse with bells on.

I understand why he did that. If I had a medal I’d be tempted to do the same thing. Because I feel inferior to every human being I’ve ever met, including criminals and the mentally disabled. Credentials give me something to wave—“See! See! I’m somebody too!”

Sad as it is, that’s how I am, and that makes today a pretty good day.

In other positive news, I found out Saturday that Sissel will be doing two concerts at the Høstfest in Minot, North Dakota in October. This means, it goes without saying, that I’ll have to make that ten-hour drive in the fall. It also means that I’ll have to try to do both that and the Norway trip I’m trying to arrange, which means I need more money, and I don’t think the Spectator gig will pay that well. Gotta get that renter in the spare room.

I learned about the Sissel concert in Hutchinson, Minnesota, where I drove for a Viking Age Society event. We did live steel in an empty store in a mall there. Every time I have a sword fight, I think it adds an hour to my life. Sold several copies of my books, too, in spite of the low turnout due to weather.

The weather sucked. The blizzard had ended, and the sky was clear, but there was a stiff wind out of—I actually don’t recall where it was coming from. But it was cold. And Highway 7 from Minneapolis to Hutchinson was coated with about a 75% covering of ice. The county, in its wisdom, had apparently elected not to waste any of the taxpayers’ money on fripperies like sand and salt.

So by the time I got to Hutchinson (Sissel playing on the CD player, of course), I was ready to hit something with a sword. Hard.

Technical note: This entire post was written in a reverse chronological order. That’s the kind of textural richness that makes my writing so much in demand among the more discerning of the online media outlets.

16 thoughts on “I, pundit”

  1. Oh, I don’t know. I know I won’t get one of Sissel, so what’s the point? And pictures of row on row of merchant vendors’ booths, and people walking around in Norwegian sweaters and cowboy hats, are amusing but not beautiful.

  2. Congratulations! I think the pundit opportunity shows great promise.

    Isn’t there a skier statue in downtown Minot? You could take a picture of that. Minot’s a great place once you get there, it just takes a little patience to get wa-ay out there (I’ve lived in both Dakotas, so I can say things like that).

    The reverse chronology think puts this post in the same category of “All Along the Watchtower”.

  3. Great piece in the Spectator. I’m already rethinking my shorts, tee-shirt, and flip-flops summer work wardrobe. (I work at home.) With the heat and humidity here in the Carolinas do you think it’s OK to return to the pre-A/C days of the snappy seersucker suit come July?

    It was a great way to start my Wednesday reading your elegant prose.

  4. [Thought I posted this Monday, but it isn’t here, so here it is now…]

    Congratulations on the TAS gig Lars, and I pray that it leads to bigger things.

    On your way to the Høstfest, consider stopping in Fargo for coffee and pie. I’m buying.

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