You can check out my reasons here. He's one of my 'Cool People'.
On an odd note, I still use his reasoning to encourage people to adopt swimming as an exercise. He told me that's one of his secrets to staying healthy...And it probably is one of the better pieces of advice that I've received from a UNC alum of late.
So with a tip to Lenny Bruce, Ginsburg, Kerouac, and my boys working at the counter in North Beach, it's great to see City Lights Bookstore get it's due. Check out Deborah Solomon's cool interview with Ferlinghetti in Sunday's NYTimes.
P.S. I hope that I can bump into Ferlinghetti again at City Lights...I have to thank him for his store, and I would love to hear another old campus story about UNC. More importantly, his staff's reading inventory over the past decade has cracked my thinking, which is why I refer to his store as "The University of City Lights."
I definitely owe him one at Vesuvio's. Here's a few tidbits from Solomon's interview.
NYTimes, DS: Are you saying the word "literarians" refers to all readers of books, as opposed to people who prefer their culture plugged inot an electric socket?
Ferlinghetti: Yes. In the '60's, there was a famous slogan. "Be Here Now." which in fact was a best-selling book by Ram Dass. Today, with the cellphones, the fax, the Internet, the whole schmear-the slogan you have today is "Be Somewhere Else Now."
NYTimes, DS: You yourself, at age 86, are still in teh same place, the legendary City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, which you opened with Peter Martin more than a half-century ago and which has somehow survived the proliferation of chain stores.
Ferlinghetti: It helps to have low rent! We're still open seven days a week, until midnight. I live in North Beach, about 10 blocks away from the bookshop, and I ride my bicycle to work.
NYTimes, DS: How would you like to be remembered?
Ferlinghetti: I really can't worry about my reputation. It's a waste of time. Sterling Lord, the literary agent in New York who is a friend of mine - he has been after me for years to write an autobiography. But I don't have time to look backward.
Here's a picture of the famous door in the basement of City Lights...It's unchanged from it's opening...
That's what I'm talking about...