Sunday, April 26, 2009


A short story by Toby Barlow
Reviewed by Lawrence Reeve

When I was playing competitive chess I soaked in many aspects of the game, including the history and literature. I stumbled upon a piece by Woody Allen (The Gossage—Vardebedian Papers) about a chess-by-mail game that had gone horribly, and hilariously, wrong. It reminded me that relationships, in spite of Dr. Phil's reminders to listen to your partner, are really one-sided affairs in which you interact with your perception of your partner, rather than their actual self.

To my delight, Toby Barlow's story of a one-sided relationship with the Department of Motor Vehicles, strikes a similar, and equally humorous, chord. If you have ever wondered why the time spent in line at the DMV is measured using the same scale used for measuring glacial recession, Toby's answer will prove enlightening and funny.

It reminds us all that our government departments are more than just the sum of their many people. Indeed, they are the sum of their people's neuroses, dreams, fantasies and fetishes.

At 4500 words, you can read it in line the next time you renew your license.

ePublisher: n + 1, July 7th, 2005 issue. n +1 is an eZine and print publication of politics, literature, and culture published twice-yearly. Issue Seven is now available in bookstores everywhere and by subscription. The website is updated with new content at least once weekly, usually on Monday.

Format: Read in my browser and advertising free.


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