He wrote in The Stranger about the simultaneous desire for approval and the wish to disappear entirely.
He wrote in The Stranger about going on book tour—specifically "the simultaneous desire for approval and the wish to disappear entirely." Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Happy David Rakoff's birthday, everyone. The unbelievably funny, charming, gay, smart, Jewish, Canadian writer of books like Half Empty and Don't Get Too Comfortable died of cancer in 2012, at the age of 47. In 2002, Rakoff was on a book tour and came through town. The Stranger commissioned him to review the audience at a reading he gave at University Book Store.

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This paragraph is unforgettable:

I don't have a lot to say about my Seattle audience. I can't even say how many people there were. They all seemed very nice and receptive, except perhaps for one older fellow with silver hair and a sleek beard, who appeared to sit stone-faced throughout. "He hates me," I thought, which immediately led me to further think, "I love him." There is nothing like an open expression of contempt to blow right up my skirt. I spent the rest of the reading directing every look to him, desperate to win him over. With each glance, I semaphored, "I might be reading from this book, but in my heart I have cut off all my hair and I am knitting it into a sweater for you." By reading's end, I thought I saw him chuckle, and my infatuation dissipated immediately, burning off like morning dew.

God he was funny. Read the rest of that piece right here.