Deep Too. Toronto: Book Thug, 2013. 79 pp. “Non-Fiction.” $12.00. A quirky problem in genre classification – a prose poem? a true story? A book.
Like Peckertracks, Deep Too is a penis book. In a series of collaged 1-3 page, often hilarious anecdotes it addresses, however, not the erect ejaculator but the working-class Lacanian power symbol – the one can that piss further, create a larger trouser-bulge, hang further off a bridge, and skewer more yaks than any other. Yes, those yaks are here in Dragland's book. It’s the phallus of the urinal, limerick and washroom graffiti, of those men and boys who hang pairs of brass testicles on the trailer-hitches of their pickup trucks, and who are all too eager, Dragland implies several times, to invest in that legendary pharmaceutical “Me-ga-di k.” Theirs is a developmentally retarded sexuality which he can amusingly mock and lament, while also mocking himself for being complicit in it. But, he decides, about two-thirds through this short collage, these anecdotes have not been “The Worst” of its aspects.
Curiously – or perhaps not – he seems to find more energy and wit for writing this opening section (37 of the 73 pages) than he does for “The Worst,” the book’s three remaining parts. Much of the latter, moreover is made up of
Dragland doesn’t seem to see any way out of such male phallic obsession, as I read his ending, which again is not his words but another long quotation, a description by Canadian anthropologist Lorne Eisley of a violently stoney pleistocene landscape in Labrador. “We, mankind,” Eisley concludes, “arose amidst the wandering of the ice and marched with it. We are in some sense shaped by it, as it has shaped the stones.” As my mother used to say whenever someone explained to her the ontological argument for the existence of god, "that’s deep." And she probably wouldn’t have noticed the unfortunate pun Dragland has let slip by on “stones.”
Me, I still wish that the last sections had been able to have the wit of the first – had been deep, ethical and witty too. That the author had noticed that he had the stones to do that. The book leaves me with uncomfortable impression that Dragland’s middle-class writers friends have just scolded his working-class male acquaintances, and that Dragland himself has, sadly, had engaging things to say only while in the company of the hosers.