People often ask me, "T.C. Boyle, why did you cancel your subscription to Wine Spectator and start reading Wine Participant instead?"
First of all I should point out that these people have usually mistaken me for T. Coraghessan Boyle, author of darkly satirical novels like World's End and The Road to Wellville. My full name is actually Tom Clancy Boyle, which, coincidentally, has also caused some confusion. This was never more apparent than the time I was interviewed on ABC’s Nightline about the CIA, which I know nothing about. For the record (and I explained this to Mr. Koppel before being escorted out), the CIA is a top-secret agency. Nobody knows anything about it. Duh.
But I digress.
Regardless of who "they" or even "you" think I am, I’m always happy to talk about the publication that changed my life. I first starting reading Wine Participant 38 months ago, about a year after I lost my job, and a good three months into my new life as "the guy who lives in that ditch near the overpass".
Food and Wine, Travel and Leisure; those magazines just stopped speaking to me the way they used to. I was a man without a lifestyle magazine; a rudderless ship lost at sea. Or, more specifically, a 41-year-old former Accounts Payable Associate on a year-long bender of heavy, heavy drinking and occasional petty theft/armed robbery.
One day my friends Blackie and Pete showed me a copy of WP and I felt whole again. From the very first headline, “Never Choke on Your Own Vomit Again: Learning To Pass Out the Right Way!” I thought, "Hey, this is the exact mixture of useful information and hard-hitting journalism that can make me feel less desperately and completely alone." It really spoke to me, you know; made me want to cry, or maybe smash something.
Articles like, "Wino or Rummy, Which One Are You?" really opened my eyes. After completing the enclosed quiz, I found that Blackie would be considered a "rummy" by WP's panel of experts. This was contrary to my own panel-of-one which had ruled him a "complete and total lying douchebag". Cocksucker still owes me three dollars, I don't care what his old lady says.
But we were talking about Wine Participant, no?
My favorite columnist, Blind Reggie, has taught me so much. Like how to resist the temptation of sodomizing the corpse of the drifter you’ve just disemboweled. The included list of "Ten Best Public Restroom Sinks to Clean Your Feet In" will sure come in handy, should things get messy. And after reading "Truckstop Handjobs: What to Charge", I feel like I might finally be able to get my finances in order.
All I'm saying is, before you jump off the sidelines into the margins of society, a subscription to WP is a must.
And if you see Blackie, you can tell him Tom Clancy Boyle doesn't need his goddamn money. He's just a hand job away from a better life!