Slate is preparing you to discover further mysteries of the Catholic Church (Did you know Alfred Hitchcock was Catholic?) by pointing out Dan Brown’s ability to turn his characters into amalgams of Michael Phelps, Jimi Hendrix, Marcel Proust, and Brad Pitt (or, Martina Navratilova, Joni Mitchell, Toni Morrison, and Tyra Banks):
The youngest full professor at Georgetown University and a brilliant foreign-language specialist, he was practically a celebrity in the world of academia. Born with an eidetic memory and a love of languages, he’d mastered six Asian dialects as well as Spanish, French, and Italian. His university lectures on etymology and linguistics were standing-room-only, and he invariably stayed late to answer a barrage of questions. He spoke with authority and enthusiasm, apparently oblivious to the adoring gazes of his star-struck coeds.
Becker was dark—a rugged, youthful thirty-five with sharp green eyes and a wit to match. … Over six feet tall, Becker moved across a squash court faster than any of his colleagues could comprehend. After soundly beating his opponent, he would cool off by dousing his head in a drinking fountain and soaking his tuft of thick, black hair. Then, still dripping, he’d treat his opponent to a fruit shake and a bagel.
That’s an impressive resume. Meanderings thanks the wise, humble, dapper, esoteric Eric for pointing us to this exceptional piece. And we couldn’t help but take this as a challenge to top Mr. Brown. So here you’ll find a passage from our forthcoming novel:
Chase Connors couldn’t help but smile as he set down the 18-foot U-Haul truck. Helping this young woman escape from beneath the crushing chassis reminded him of last weekend when he did what some often refer to as another kind of “heavy lifting”: he had finished the final draft of the braille text he put together for his “Theory of Relativity: Explained,” just in time to cook a new bouillabaisse recipe for his sexually and emotionally satisfied wife of 23 years, Heidi Klum. Heidi loved his bouillabaisse, but then again, the only meal of his she hadn’t liked was the steak tartare Chase had intentionally burnt one evening when she was feeling particularly inadequate.
He set the car down and helped the young woman to her feet. She looked at him and very nearly fainted when her eyes fell on his, colored a shade of blue rivaling any cathode ray tube. A hint of recognition crossed her face.
“Hey, didn’t you play for the Knicks?”
Chase’s smile disappeared. He liked to talk about his athletic career – in football or golf, let alone basketball – just about as much as he liked chatting up his trio of academy awards for best director, screenplay, and actor in “God,” a movie in which he played the title character.
“You must have me confused for another 6’6″, 225-pound man with wavy brown hair.” He turned and, without asking for a word of thanks, went to his twice-weekly shift at the soup kitchen. It was just now approaching 6:00 a.m.