Guess who that might be? How can a Muslim male nurse possibly at the forefront of today’s cultural vanguard? What does Mr. Kareem Aly, RN, a dedicated, humane, humorous male nurse from Rahway, NJ have to do with today’s hottest lit biz?
Because Kareem Aly, RN, is not actually a person, but an anagram of Mark Leyner, who satirized the world of absurdism with an anagrammatic riff on the “prostate” that led to him to surgery, finding true comic value in apes trot- pre-toast – tsar poet, and, yes, of course , tear pots. Anagrams, of course, are just a hifalutin version of astrology or haruspicy, the forerunner of all religion, , fuckin’ around with letters, which are no more than abstract linear representations, simply to smash absurdity into meaning, and get some fun out of the hilarious but meaningless process.
On my end, in my own Anagram Theater, there are some stories soon to be made into major motion pictures.
Faroe Jew Tinsmith tells the sad but hard-warming story of a Holocaust survivor, exiled to the windswept Faroe Islands, facing discrimination, but delivering fine pounded-out roofs and shed augmentations, and hammering his sorrow into notice of the comeliest young maiden of the windswept isle. Kind of a Ghost meets Son of Saul.
A Thermos Went Fiji is an update of the wacky college-crowd weeper The Gods Must Be Crazy, as it follows the momentous decision of a fine carpenter to trade in his his daily tap water in his Thermos for the more upscale Fiji Water, which is noticed by his buddies as signalling a hipster affection. This causes the carpenter to seek out other consumers of the high-end water supply company, with love and laughter ultimately producing a hilarious change in lifestyle for the once simple meat-and potatoes Joe. Starring Mark Ruffalo.
A Few Hermits Joint is a modern picaresque documentary, following a band of three middle-aged hoboes/backwoods recluses who get together to make old-timey jug music that evokes the pain and merriment of living a life of creative solidarity while on the run from the madness of modern civilization. Ry Cooder supplies the background music and narrates – sure to get the feature award at the Appalachian Filmfest.
Kareem Aly, RN, is, however, the truest exemplar of anagrammatic irony. Leyner, indeed, has been living a double life, adopting this Muslim alias and providing hospice care to Alzheimer’s patients in Rahway, NJ. Why did he engage in this philanthropic charade? Because, he said, he knew his crazy-ass riff fictions had no meaning, and that he” wanted to give back.” Consider it done, Kareem Aly, RN.