I heard Bud Trillin before I read him. He spoke — performed what amounted to a standup routine, really — at the celebration of Yale’s tercentennial in New Haven in the Spring of 2001, and I was there to watch the gig. As a reader, I’ve been in catchup mode ever since.
It pains me to write, then, that his most recent piece, a funny and heartbreaking New Yorker memoir of his wife and muse, Alice, isn’t on the magazine’s website. This is one of the things about the New Yorker that absolutely infuriates me; for understandable and perfectly selfish copyright reasons, the magazine keeps some of its best writing offline and out of the hands and minds of an awful lot of people who should experience it but otherwise never will. Most of the time, my fury passes quickly. This time, I hope that someone scans the full text of the article and posts it somewhere. Copyright be damned. The piece is that good, and I can’t imagine that Bud Trillin, his employer aside, would care.
Meanwhile, and whether or not a digital version of “Alice, Off the Page” shows up online any time soon, go immediately to a store where fine magazines are sold and buy a copy of the March 27, 2006 issue. Turn to page 44, and savor two lives richly lived.