Bar Mitzvah


In 1985, I was Bar Mitzvahed at the Mt. Kisco Holiday Inn. I have spent the ensuing 24 years making fun of my parents, who actually divided the guest list into those invited to only the post-ceremony cocktail hour at the hotel bar and those invited to both the cocktail hour and the reception. To paint a clearer picture: The cocktail hour lasted, oh, an hour, and afterward half the people left, while the other half entered a large reception hall. I was only 13, so I had no clue how tacky this probably seemed to the unlucky schlubs who came bearing gifts, only to be asked to leave following two olives, a couple of chicken sticks and a watered-down vodka and cranberry.

Since that memorable day, I’ve had four other occasions that provide similar emotions: Book release one, book release two, book release three, book release four.

I am excited, nervous, anxious—all the standard emotions that come with a release. I love the positive comments, endure the negative ones, cringe at some reviews, cheer others. I want people to like the book, but not as much as I hope people don’t hate the book (I’m not sure what that actually means, but it sounds sorta thought-provoking). Mostly, I want to promote, and move on. You work so hard on these things, by the time it’s released you just want to talk about anything but Roger Clemens. Or Barry Bonds. Or the ’86 Mets or ’90s Cowboys. Really, you want a month-long vacation to the other side of the world, to recharge and read a book or two about anything other than sports.

Over the past eight months or so, nearly all that I’ve read has related directly to Roger Clemens. Nearly every book, every magazine article, every clip, every website—all Clemens, all the time. If this sounds like whining, well, I hope it doesn’t, because I’m blessed that the good folk at Harper (ne HarperCollins) have allowed me to live my dream.

But it is exhausting.