Scott Eric Kaufman boards a flight to Houston, TX. He stumbles into his aisle seat and opens his backpack. He pulls a stack of papers from it. Because he needs new glasses, the name “McCann” is emblazoned in 14 point font across the top of first page. Across the aisle sits a svelte young man clad all in black reading a Vintage International paperback. He glances at Scott, then at the stack, then returns to his book. The plane taxies down the runway and takes off.
Svelte Young Man: (leans into the aisle) What are you reading?
Scott: An essay a friend of mine sent me.
Svelte Young Man: What’s it about?
Scott: Getrude Stein, mostly, but it has a bit about evolutionary theory in it.
Svelte Young Man: ‘Cause I noticed it said “McCann” on it. Is it by Sean McCann?
Scott: Actually, it is.
Svelte Young Man: One of my professors told me to check out his work. Smart stuff. Did you know he writes for this online thing?
Svelte Young Man: It’s called “The Valve.” Smart stuff. I can give you the address. You should really look it up.
Scott: Actually, I write for the Valve too. My name’s Scott Kaufman. (offers hand)
Svelte Young Man: (stares blankly)
Scott: I’ve been writing there a while. Sean and I are friends.
Svelte Young Man: (continues to stare blankly)
Scott: (feeling like a busted liar) No, really, I do. Did you read the text adventure parody?
Svelte Young Man: Uh, no.
Scott: Any of the stuff about Darwin?
Svelte Young Man: (visibly uncomfortable) Not that I remember.
Scott: (feeling increasingly busted) I post there all the time.
Svelte Young Man: Well, I don’t read the comments...
It’s all downhill from there. Scott slowly withdraws his long outstretched hand. He never manages to get the guy’s name, but he does learn (albeit indirectly) that the recommendation to track Sean down came, in all likelihood, from Mark McGurl. He posts this in the hope that the anonymous guy who thinks Scott a liar will read this. Because really, I mean, most of y’all complain he posts too much, no?