Okay, here's the deal. You get to throw a dinner party for ten people, living or dead. Those people can be anybody of your choosing. Want Napolean over for a fat, juicy steak? Done. Want to show Gandhi a thing of two about gorging one's self on mashed potatoes? Done. So who would those people be? This is not a new concept. Mike Gravel's old Dirtpuppy website had this topic before, but it's something interesting to talk about. I'll post my list and why the people are on that list. There is definitely a comments section, though, so please post who you would want to have a meal with.
So here we go (in no order of importance)...
1.) Chuck Palahniuk- Those of you who know me will find the inclusion of Chuck P's name of no surprise whatsoever. He is one of the most dynamic writers out there in the sense that there is a certain lyrical quality to his prose that cannot be denied. So while he is writing a great story like Fight Club or Choke there are just so many passages of those books that can be read out loud like good poetry. He is one of my literary heroes.
2.) Maynard James Keenan- Again, a no-brainer. Tool, being my favorite band, needs some representation at the dinner table and who better to represent them than their vocalist? His presence at the party would give me a chance to ask him for some of the meanings behind some of Tool's more abstract lyrics.
3.) Gordon Downie- When will I take some chances with this list, you ask? Maybe in a number or two. Gordon Downie, the lead singer of the Tragically Hip, as well as a sorely underrated solo artist, is a national treasure. He is one of the few singers who could release a book of poetry that doesn't make me shudder. He also seems like a good guy to just have a beer or two with, which could definitely come in handy at this dinner party.
4.) Allen Ginsberg- I imagine Mr. Ginsberg would have some of the most amazing stories to tell. The Beat Generation is full of names one could feasibly invite to a dinner party like this and no matter who you get you're going to get to hear stories that will undoubtedly become American legends. Ginsberg, as a man, seemed to be incredibly open to experiences so I doubt that there is one topic of conversation that he couldn't expound on at great length.
5.) Henry Rollins- Another man who can tell some incredible stories is Henry Rollins. If you've ever been to one of his spoken word shows you know exactly what I'm talking about. He's a cultural juggernaut, really.
6.) Bill Hicks- There is so much that I would love to talk to Bill Hicks about. He was a brilliant comic and social commentator who was shuffled off the mortal coil much too early in his life. More than any other dead hero out there he's the guy whose observations I miss the most every time I watch the news and see all the sad shit going down in the world. I have to listen to his CDs just to have him remind me that it's all "just a ride."
7.) David Cross- Maybe I'm loading up on comics and social commentators too much for one dinner. I imagine that with all the joking and such going on a the dinner table I would be launching food and beverages out my nose at an alarming rate.
8.) Wayne Gretzky- I suppose this is sort of an oddball selection to have on this list since he seems to be the only athlete, but he was a staple of my youth. Again, it would be great to just get some of his stories from the glory days of the dynasty Oilers. Not just the stories about what it was like on the ice, which seem to come up all the time, but the stories about what the team was like off the ice, what it was like to be a young phenom, what it was like to be the king of the world.
9.) Sarah Polley- Canadian eye candy who has a ton of brains to boot. Smart. Sexy. She's a total package. I think it would be great to get her and Gordon Downie to duet on "Courage." If you ever get a chance to check out her rendition of the Tragically Hip classic you should definitely do it. She took a great rocker and turned it into a haunting balad.
10.) Ray Kurzweil- He'd be there to tell us that no matter how bleak things look in this world of ours there is always the promise of a glorious future. He probably has the lowest profile personality on this list, but that doesn't diminish his role at the dinner table. He's a futurist, the best kind of futurist, an optimist.
So there you have it. Probably not a surprising list to most of you out there. Do take the time to come up with your own list, put it in the comments section, or, better yet, post it on your blog (if you have one). It's a good way to get to know each other.