The personal essay is just like people: full of too much information, inherently dull, and a staple fascination of weekend media. The men and women of American letters just really love to get personal on their days off. We reward those who go too far.
The T.M.I. Awards used to be a thing we did every weekend, going through all the personal essays that had been published in the papers and giving out prizes when we saw someone stretch the form in a new and surprising way. This week the awards are back for some reason. Some complicated love tangles after the jump, along with a pile of unsavory emotions and a MIMS joke.
Best husband: Kevin Mims, the author of this week's edition of Modern Love. Why is Mims hot? Because he's managed to convince his wife Julie to let him be a "writer" all his life while she goes to work everyday as an as escrow officer to make the ends meet. Also because he's not above outing Frank, the father of his wife's children as a jealous, contemptible creep. One wonders how much that freelance check was for.
Best ex-husband: Frank! He was married to Julie years before Mims took the reigns, but he divorced her at 24 because he was sick of having a wife and kids while his friends were out having fun. According to Mims, he has wanted her back ever since; also he's handsome, women love him, but he doesn't love them.
Least intuitive approach to quotation/content is an easy one for Bob Morris's Styles essay, "Vice Is Bad For a Reason," which begins in a supermarket when Bob notices the new Diet Coke Plus on the shelf. Then:
"This is hilarious," I said as I pointed it out to the shopper next to me.
"Isn't there enough stuff in Diet Coke already?" she said.
This is sort of like how J.R. Writer from Dipset has a skit on his album where some guys are quoting his lyrics back to each other and talking about how he is a good rapper. As Keyhole points out, this is a pretty unorthodox take on how things are supposed to go—instead of actually rapping what you think are your best lines, you just get some friends to repeat them in conversation and then quote them on it?
Best thoughts: Edgar Allan Poe-type thoughts, c/o Frank Gannon in "True-Life Tales."
Most unpleasant person who probably loves Monty Python and Jurassic Park: Frank Gannon again:
I used to play golf a lot, but then I hurt my back. It pained me now even to address the ball. After my injury (I fell out of my attic), I still went to golf courses, but I did not play. I just rode around in golf carts with people who were playing and made withering comments, which I found amusing for a while.
Most disgusting thing goes to Charles Siebert's green thing in Lives, where he describes his decrepit summer home as a horrible place where bats swoop around in the bedroom and a "brown snake" falls into his wife's food during dinner.
Best use of strangely ostentatious casual racism: Gannon again, the rascal, describing his state of mind after popping two Darvocets and heading to the golf course: "I would appear stately and aloof rather than sad and drugged. So I started out, with lots of love in my heart for all my fellow golfers. I holla at them, whatever that means." On second thought, this is a hilarious joke.