Saturday, January 17, 2004
Is Spalding Gray Finally Swimming to Cambodia?
I'm in New York, where it was zero degrees last night with a wind that seemed to be hauling some large chunk of the Hudson River with it as it clawed its way down Grand Street. Somewhere out there in that grim dark is whatever remains of my old pal Spalding Gray.

Both seriously and humorously, more often both, he's been threatening for years to do himself in. Indeed, his jokes about suicide preserved him and certainly entertained me. But now that it's starting to look like he's actually gone and done it, suicide is not so amusing.

I try to imagine him actually attempting a swim to Cambodia. I see him swan-diving from the rail of the Staten Island Ferry late Saturday night when he disappeared, rounding Sandy Hook by dawn, and turning south for Cape Horn. He'd be well past the mouth of the Delaware by now, strong swimmer that he is. What a great monologue this is going to make. Or not. Spalding inhabits a magical reality where such feats might actually be possible, but there is something about the current state of New York Harbor that seems adamantly unfit for human survival. In my less magical reality, it's easier to see him beneath all that black water."

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