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3 min

The text of a reading I gave at the Mars Review of Books launch party.

A few months ago, Martin Shkreli wrote a blog post from prison entitled, "Love is a Battlefield." It was about the stock market. The post never mentions love or battlefields. I've been wondering what he meant by that.

Four years ago in England, I took a train from Southampton to Oxford University.

I went there to give a talk but later that night I went to a party hosted by Effective Altruists. It was a hot tub party and everyone was naked. I did go in the hot tub but I kept my underwear on. I wouldn’t have been able to explain to my wife what was effective or altruistic about getting naked in a hot tub.

I recently became a father. The craziest thing about becoming a father is that your wife suddenly loves another person more than you. We have a great relationship, I know she loves me deeply, but still—it's obvious: If one of us had to die—me or the baby—and my wife was forced to choose, I have no doubt she would kill me, in a heartbeat. And she'd be correct to do so, of course. I know this. You just don't expect to see it—in advance.

I took a taxi from JFK to Manhattan. I shared it with a girl I met on the plane. About 45 minutes into the drive she asked me, "Do you want to see my Treblinka Milady?"

I asked her, "What do you mean, like Treblinka is the background?"

She said, "No. It says Treblinka on her shirt."

She showed me her phone.

I said, "Huh, looks rare."

She said many people are burning the Treblinka Miladies in protest.

I said, "Won't that just increase their price?"

She said yea probably.

One evening last week, I accidentally put the baby to sleep in a shirt he soiled earlier in the day. My wife asked me to go back in and change it. I objected:

If it were me and I was already falling asleep, I wouldn't mind sleeping one night in a soiled shirt. Genetically he's 50% me, therefore it's impossible for us to infer that he would want us to wake him up.

But she insisted, and how could I say no? She cares about baby matters more than I do. I’m glad and grateful she cares so much; how can I object to any of her requests? And that’s when I realized the second craziest thing about fatherhood.

For its first 9 months, the wife-baby dyad is technically a conspiracy.

The wife-baby dyad is a bio-weapon.

The wife-baby dyad is a bio-weapon sent by God to free men from themselves.

Martin Shkreli just got out of prison and someone gave me his phone number, so I called him earlier today. He didn't pick up. I wanted to ask him what he meant when he said that love is a battlefield.

I recently watched the film adaptation of Elena Ferrante's The Lost Daughter. It's about a woman who leaves her husband and children. It was amazing, it was the most scathing and tragic depiction of the modern woman I had ever seen on screen. Then I read the reviews, all of which praised the film as a Hero's Journey. I was horrified, I really couldn't believe it. That was the sickest I ever felt after watching a movie. I couldn't sleep that night, and I can always sleep at night.

I find it plausible that the recent pandemic operated on memory rather than the respiratory system, we just falsely remember that it operated on the respiratory system. Covid was real, but it didn’t come to the United States through a wet market. It came through TikTok, you just don't remember it correctly.

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