It’s all Marc Acito’s Fault
This story requires some set up.
I am told I have a very distinctive laugh. Once, when I was grad school, I went to see a movie. After a particularly funny moment, in a dark theatre, someone yells “(my surname) is that you?!" After I’d’ been in Chicago for a few years, I went to see/hear David Sedaris do a reading. It was a fundraiser for our local Public Radio station. It was also recorder for future listening. Some months after, I get a call from a friend out of the blue, who asked if I’d been at said reading. I replied, “Yes”, somewhat perplexed. “I knew it! I was just listening to it on the radio, and I knew that was your laugh that I heard!” So, apparently my laugh gives me away.
Certain bus and train lines of CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) are known for the patrons who frequent them. A former columnist for one of Chicago’s Gay weekly magazines once referred to the Clark Street #22 bus as “The Felini Express” for the menagerie of freaks and nuts who seemed to always be on every bus. They’re the people who talk to themselves—loudly; or they may look like a close facsimile of the uni-bomber. You get the idea. They are the people you move away from.
This bus is one of the lines that I live close to and use with some frequency. In fact, I was on this bus on Saturday. Friday night, I was at Unabridged Books, (my favorite bookstore in Chicago) and bought Marc Acito’s new book, Attack of the Theatre People”. It’s funny. It’s very funny. I was reading it Saturday on my ride home on the Felini Express. The bus was full—SRO. I manage to score a seat when someone gets off. I pull the book out of my backpack, I read a passage that made a direct hit to my funny bone. I let out resounding chortle. People stared. I buried my face in the book. It happens again. I let loose with a guffaw. The bus is less crowded now. The guy sitting next to me gets up and moves to another seat. I have become one of those people. I have become a Felini Expressite. It’s all Marc’s fault. Laughing has been comodity of short supply for me. I’ve not been laughing much lately. It felt good—even if it's caused me to join the ranks of the Felini Express People.
Don’t ask me what made me laugh so hard. Go buy the book and find out for yourself. Support your independent bookstore and put Marc’s book on the charts.
Post Script--Tonight (Tuesday) I was transferring trains (EL) coming home from work. I get on the crowded train--SRO. I'm standing near the doorway, holding the bar in one hand, and Attack of the Theatre People in the other. A young, hip woman who was next to/behind me notices the book, and asks, "Have you read his first book? IT was hillarious!" I tell her, "No, this is my first. But it's causing me to have outbursts of laughter on the CTA." She tells me she's going to have go get this one, and tells me to get the first book.