I wasn't religious, but I'd started to envy people who were. They seemed to know just what and whom to be afraid of.

I saw Thumbsucker yesterday.

I approve, despite the exclusion of the book's third act in which protagonist Justin becomes a Mormon.

In 2000, I stumbled upon Thumbsucker in the Stanford University bookstore while awaiting the results of a speech and debate tournament.

I never expected someone to adapt it into a film.

The ending of the book features a favorite passage of mine:

Special occasions designed to make memories — birthdays, graduations, holiday feasts — had always done the opposite for me. The slightest pressure to savor the moment blanked me out. That's what happened at the party. Fuzzy blessings, anonymous kisses, and the faint taste of cake were all I could remember.

Except for Joel's speech. It stuck with me, every word.

A man entered the theatre wearing a Cubs hat and a Yankees shirt. How perverse, I thought. That's like being a fan of both the Lakers and the Clippers.

In the film, Justin applies to NYU and receives his acceptance letter in a letter-size envelope.

I'm not a stickler for realism in art, but for some reason, size mattered to me.

A small envelope means rejection. He should have received a large envelope, although I remember receiving a large envelope from Berkeley and celebrating only to notice days later "winter semester" printed on the envelope and subsequently crying like Tyra Banks preparing an Awesome Blossom.

Lou Pucci does a good impression of Fire Marshall Bill.