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Strove to find a way to punch people in the face by using the Internet.

7/10/2005

DIARY OF INDIGNITIES
Dave Says It's Not Me This Time
OK, so I wrote this book. It's about the chimpanzees that were used as test subjects in the early U.S. space program, and what happened to them after the Air Force decided they were superfluous. In the '70s the Air Force started leasing their chimp colony out for medical experimentation, and the last part of the book details recent efforts to get the colony into a sanctuary.

I can't take credit for the story — the book is based on an excellent documentary film made by David Cassidy and Kristen Davy. Dave's been showing the film at festivals here and there for the past few years, leasing broadcast rights to, like, the Mongolian history channel and stuff, and last year cut a deal with a major publisher to release it on DVD, packaged with a book. And — stupid fearless bastard that he is — Dave got me on board to write it.

It's not a bad little book. Straightforward reporting, nothing fancy. Certainly not as poetic as the wonderful film on which it's based. I tried to make up for it, though, by cramming it full of crazy shit I just plain made up interesting details, back-story and facts the film didn't have room to include. I was particularly proud of this sentence:

"Until those chimps could be launched, the United States kept up its end of the space race by filling the skies with monkeys."

And it's a pretty good story, too. Generally I'm a lot more interested in eating animals than putting them in sanctuaries, but I've seen these chimps up close and talked to primatologists about them, so I'm convinced as to their complexity, and the fact they got handed a shitty deal. But there are good people out there working hard to do what they can about that, and it's nice to be able to write about it.

So why am I writing about this in the Diary of Indignities?

Well, the damn thing might not ever come out. I hate to say it, but this Amazon link and this Barnes and Noble link might end up being the only evidence I ever wrote it.

It's a long story, filled with drama and intrigue, but it's not yet resolved, so I'm afraid any grisly details will be forthcoming. The short version is this: due to some kind of ill-defined production mishap, 10,000 hardback copies, complete with DVD, were printed with serious errors. Serious enough to preclude distribution. And last week some guy in some office somewhere decided it'd be easier to just scrap the whole thing than reprint it.

So that's it. Right now, at least, a couple of Web links are the only evidence I have that I just didn't cobble the whole shebang together in the throes of some awful opium dream.

Dealing with this over the past few weeks has been pretty nuts. At one point, I said to Dave, "Dude, you should have never brought me on board. I'm the Diary of Indignities guy... The reverse alchemist, turning gold into shit. I'm cursed. Fucking cursed."

"You know, I thought about that," Dave said. "But then I remembered that those poor chimps have been cursed since the '50s. You weren't even born yet! So it's not you."

We both knew he was lying, but I appreciated the gesture, and am at the moment prepared to let that be the official statement on the matter.

Fuck.

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