I Am Charlotte Simmons

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In the early 90s, I bought a copy of Tom Wolfe’s “The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test” at a head shop in Columbia, MO called Cool Stuff. Well, before I had a chance to read the book, my sight was gone. Thus, soon after, I got an audio copy. Until 2006, I’d not read any of Wolfe’s other works. Then this year? Cranked out a good four or five of his novels and now I’m working my way through Wolfe’s “I Am Charlotte Simmons.”

“Charlotte” is a country girl from NC who goes to a present day Ivy League university and discovers a culture held hostage by sex, drugs and materialism. Since college wasn’t all that long ago for your humble writer here, I got a warm, tingly feeling while reading of Charlotte’s adventures in fraternity houses, in the dorms and all over campus. Waxing nostalgia, one might say. It’s a fairly accurate picture of college life in the early years of the 21st century.

So, this morning, I was up way early and started doing a bit of Tom Wolfe research. Turns out Wolfe graduated college in (get this) 1951. Yep, over half a century ago. And now, in his 70’s (from my limited math skills which are a result of the afore mentioned culture of college), Wolfe is cranking out novels about 18 year olds with the accuracy of someone on the brink of their second decade. Wow. Just wow!

I truly, truly hope that when I’m into my golden years, I’m still as creative and relevant as I feel now in 2006. Props to Tom Wolfe for not sitting on his duff or playing golf in his 70s, but for creating something interesting and accurate for the rest of the world to enjoy.

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