JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The index (and Casey Anthony)

Too often in life, we look ahead. Then look more ahead. And even more ahead. I believe John Lennon wrote, “God laughs at those who make plans,” and I agree 100 percent. We’re always looking toward that next vacation; that next holiday; that next night out. Meanwhile, the hands of time tick, tick, tick.

This is an especially easy thing to happen when one has a book coming out. My Walter Payton biography, Sweetness, his shelves/iPads/Kindles on October 4, and I’m increasingly excited. But I refuse to allow myself to aim for the date and overlook the little things that make a book a book. Deciding on photographs. Picking a cover. Author photo. Getting back-cover blurbs. They’re small dinks, but they make up a big part of the whole process.

Today, for example, I was e-mailed the book’s index. This might sound silly, but there’s something genuinely thrilling about scanning through the list and seeing the hundreds upon hundreds of names, listed alphabetically, with their designated pages. Can’t fully explain why this is meangful to me, but, well, I think you probably understand.

PS: Casey Anthony—a sad statement on our societal boredom. Seriously, I know our jobs suck, our kids keep screaming, nothing’s good on TV, Target closes at 10 and the dog needs to go out, but why do we—as a people—love trials so much? Are we that bored? Really?