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I didn’t pick up on this at the time—I mean, I couldn’t tell.To me he looked like he’s always looked, like he’s looked since his debut season, back when I first fell in love with his antics: all bright-eyed and symmetrical-faced, fed on genetically modified corn, with the swollen, hairless torso of the aspiring professional wrestler he happened to be and a smile you could spot as Midwestern American in a blimp shot of a soccer stadium.
In the same essay, he mentions his father, who is shocked into life by a brief bolt of story: “My father was a great Mark Twain fanatic—he got fired from the only teaching job he ever held for keeping the first graders in at recess, to make them listen to records of an actor reading the master’s works.” In “Mr. still faintly curled from having been rolled through the heavy typewriter.” He notices that Lytle’s equally aged sister has hands whose knuckles are “cubed with arthritis.” Lytle himself sags so exaggeratedly into the sofa, “it was as if thieves had crept through and stolen his bones and left him there.”Sullivan has a very good eye—he memorably describes the Virgin Group tycoon, Sir Richard Branson, as “that weird and whispery mogul-faun, Sir Richard”—and ears pricked for eventuality.
Further proving the lengths he would go to give his son land, Henry II dismissed William Fitz Aldelm, Lord of Ireland, at the Council of Oxford, giving the title to John, who was only 10 years old.
8 years later, John made his first trip to Ireland.
He seems to have in abundance the storyteller’s gifts: he is a fierce noticer, is undauntedly curious, is porous to gossip, and has a memory of childlike tenacity.
Anecdotes fly off the wheels of his larger narratives.