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Extra info for Chump Change

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It’s not getting published, but at least it’s practice. In those days I looked at everything in terms of how my future biographers would view it, and this seemed like a good fit: “Upon arriving in Manhattan, David Henry took a lowly job as a letter-writer for Newsweek magazine. ” The card on the job-board also said the job title was “Letters Correspondent,” but that wasn’t quite true, either. I’ll never forget my first day. A little wall-eyed elf named Donna — a ten-year Newsweek veteran — is showing me the ropes, taking me over to see the various points of interest, including the largest bank of filing cabinets I’ve ever seen.

Cows, crops. “Hey,” I said, sitting up. ” “I know,” Max said calmly. “I’m not taking you to the city. I’m taking you to the country, for a little R&R. ” I knew this, in a general sort of way. I knew I looked bad. What I didn’t realize then was just how bad. Since then, I’ve looked back on photos from that weekend. Everyone looks happy, healthy, young. And behind them looms this fat, pale monster with long greasy hair, and raccoon-like circles under his eyes. I look at pictures from those days and I think: that is a dying animal.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely proud of that letter; I’ve got at least 20 copies of it in my pack in the overhead compartment. It was a letter to my friend Nan, back in Toronto, all about life in New York. Nan is a copy editor at a small literary magazine called The Burnished Monocle, and she showed this letter to the editors. ” I’m proud of it, there’s nothing like the first time you get published. Still, I thought by age 28 I’d have accomplished more, I’d have more of an oeuvre under my belt.

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