How do I not break my neck, climbing these stairs? I asked myself.
I had reached my glorious apartment, a bit tipsy. My poison of choice was the chocolate whipped vodka. It contained seltzer, chocolate cream flavored vodka, and a lime. It tasted of the classic concoction, egg cream, the boozy version, of course.
Rather than craving General Tso’s Chicken or tasty Latino diner fare, I hungered for something more enticing. Like any good drunkard, I sifted through my beloved bookshelf.
“Ulysses, I’ve never read, Ulysses. How can I be a future English teacher of America and not read this classic?” I asked myself.
Rather dizzily, I pulled out the bed from my sofa, for a reading session. Ulysses’ beautiful green cover was intoxicating. The literary journey began. Initially, James Joyce’s important classic had me surprisingly glued. The first few chapters went by relatively quickly.
Since New York’s temperatures had dropped below zero, I was trapped in my fifth-floor walk-up. I spent much needed time with James Joyce. After a three-day weekend, the inevitable happened.
“Ulysses you’re boring the shit out of me,” said, the future English teacher.
I placed the lengthy novel back in its rightful place, the closet. Boarding two trains, I arrived in Union Square and bolted to the Strand Bookshop. “Welcome, book lovers,” the entrance sign read.
The shop’s book display case greeted, my bookworm eyes. It has always been the most beautifully arranged book table, in literary history. Somewhere between “The Catcher & The Rye” and “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” A yellow sign beckoned my attention.
“Read a challenging book,” the sign said.
Beneath it, were several stacked copies of Ulysses. I opened the book, and observed how far along I was.
“Still, I can’t fathom finishing this book,” I told myself.
As I boarded the subway back to Harlem, the words, “read a challenging book,” haunted me. Then I arrived in my humble studio apartment. Ulysses came out of the literary closet.
I was back to reading the behemoth of book. Some parts grew increasingly enjoyable, while others made me want booze. Every moment not spent at work, were spent with Ulysses.
During my lunch break, I read my final sentence. After re-reading that sentence over and over, I closed the book.
“Shit, I actually finished, Ulysses.” It wasn’t my favorite book, but it ended up being quite enjoyable, and rather sexually explicit towards the end. The bookworm literary decathlon had ended.
I read more and more challenging books from then on. Ulysses fulfilled my wordy appetite. In celebration of completing, Ulysses, I did have another of those chocolate whipped vodkas. James Joyce would’ve approved.