I was very pleased to learn this weekend that in the eyes of the local paper, I’m a proper noun. See I figured I was an adjective. I figured I was “Local Author.”
But when the Latrobe Bulletin published its page 1 feature about me and my book, the headline read: “Chris Rodell’s debut novel is deathbed satire.”
That means, at least in the eyes of Bulletin editors, I’m right up there with Arnold Palmer, who in I think 1937 was referred to as a“Local Golfer.”
This was the first story about “The Last Baby Boomer” and I can only hope other writers will be as careful and engaged as Maryann Gogniat Eidemiller was. I’m very pleased with the story and the way it describes me and the book.
So instead of inserting my own thoughts, I figure I’ll just re-post verbatim the Saturday story because many of you haven’t seen it and the Bulletin has no webpage. And bully for them. Old school!
I’m thrilled by the early reaction the book’s getting. Please get in touch if you’d like to buy a signed copy.
Hundreds of people came to sit at the bedside of Martin J. McCrae, who had lapsed into a coma that was capturing national attention.
They came not in friendship, nor to offer him comfort.
They lined up, day in, day out, to pay $25 for 15 minutes of bedside vigil on the long shot they’ll be present when McCrae takes his last breath and dies. At stake was a $980 million jackpot.
“Everyone has to die,” Chris Rodell said, “but only one of us gets to die last.”
McCrae is the central character in Rodell’s debut novel, “The Last Baby Boomer: The Story of the Ultimate Ghoul Pool.” This week he donated the first copy of the book to Adams Memorial Library in Latrobe.
At 117 years old in the year 2078, McCrae is the last survivor of the Baby Boom Generation.
“It’s a coming of old, age story,” said Rodell, who lives in Latrobe.
In real time, no one can predict when the last Baby Boomer will die, but for sure the last one was born on Dec. 31, 1964.
“I was born in February 1963 and it dawned on me that I could possibly become the last one to die,” he said. “When you start doing the math of how many there are, it’s really going to be a monumental occasion.”
In the novel, the current generations have grown weary of Baby Boomers and everything about them. They resent that the music of The Beatles and Tom Petty is still popular and they don’t like how the Baby Boomers lived. By 2078, McCrae is the only one left and they’re betting on when he’s going to go. But he just isn’t dying.
Rodell debated over making the story serious or satirical and opted for the latter. A sampling of chapters available on his www.ChrisRodell.com website shows his breezy style for the absurd. The old man is dying and Rodell makes it funny.
Then the plot takes a turn. McCrae stirs and wakes up from his coma and now has something else to consider: A friend tells him that Jesus Christ is returning, and McCrae wonders if he’ll live to see it.
“Ever since Sunday school, he was told that Jesus was coming back, and he was furious about all the times he’d heard that it was happening and it didn’t,” Rodell said.
That’s McCrae’s dilemma. Does he try and to stay alive on the chance he’ll finally get to see Christ or should he just pass away and assured of seeing Jesus in heaven?
“Religion comes into this, but there’s no hidden meaning,” Rodell said. “It’s satire.”
The backstory of McCrae’s life unfolds when he wakes up and remembers the highlights of his 117 years. There are some similarities to Rodell’s own life. McCrae is a golfer and so is Rodell, but the author admits he’s not any good. McCrae doesn’t have a real job, which leaves him free to do whatever he needs to to get by and to have all those adventures that he narrates.
That’s sort of like Rodell, who 23 years ago quit his job as a reporter to work full-time reporter with the Tribune-Review to pursue full-time freelance writing.
“I made McCrae an exaggeration of my exaggerations,” Rodell said. “I wanted him to be bigger than life.”
Rodell has written for a number of publications including Esquire, Men’s Health, Playboy and National Enquirer. For the latter, he traveled around the country doing offbeat stories like “The Elvis Diet” for one week (he gained 20 pounds in seven days; visiting the Darwin, Minnesota, home of the world’s largest ball of twine; and visiting “the serial killer bar” in Washington state that was routinely patronized by four serial killers, including Ted Bundy, Green River killer Gary Ridgway and D.C. sniper John Muhammad.
“The bartender told me they were all great guys and good tippers, and they never caused any trouble,” Rodell said.
He also wrote a golf book about holes in one, and 2013 the motivational humor book called, “Use All The Crayons! The Colorful Guide to Simple Human Happiness,” which helped launch him as a humorous motivational speaker.
“The Last Baby Boomer” can be purchased on amazon.com.
Thanks, Latrobe Bulletin!