Saturday, September 29, 2012

"Wild" Adventures

Scene: My local Indian-food joint, 9:30 PM on a Saturday night. I have a habit of going there for a late supper and feeling like the modern-day equivalent of Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks." I am eating Mutter Paneer and reading Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild, thoughtfully sent to me by my mother last week.

SERVER: You know he dies in the end, right?

ME: (thinking this is the standard joke my server makes whenever he sees someone reading a book in the restaurant) Ha ha...

(Then it occurs to me that my server might actually be a literature-lover who has fallen prey to the dread Title Confusion.)

ME: You know, this isn't actually the book where he dies in the end.

SERVER: What?

ME: That one is Into the Wild -- about the kid who goes to the Alaskan wilderness and dies there. This one is just Wild. It's a memoir, by a woman, about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail -- so you see she couldn't die in the end, or there wouldn't be any book!

SERVER: Oh gosh! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean -- I wasn't even thinking about that other book --

ME: It's OK... I just thought it was funny, how their titles are similar.

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