Anyone who knows the hyper-nervous star of Curb Your Enthusiasm and creator of Seinfeld will attest to that. Paul Samuel Dolman was vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard when, on South Road, he stuck out his thumb looking for a ride. A car slowed and inside, the driver, the iconic curmudgeon Larry David peered nervously through the lowered passenger’s window and asked, “You’re not a serial killer or something are you?” Paul thought about it and replied: “Even if I am, it’s the Vineyard and I’m on vacation. I’m not working.”
Larry laughed. They shook hands and drove off on a 20-mile trip across the island. They talked the entire way and would almost freakishly bump into each other throughout that entire summer in the least likely of places.
Hitchhiking with Larry David is a remarkable journey of discovery, friendship and understanding life. Paul takes the reader on one man’s summer long journey to find meaning across the Massachusetts summer island playground of billionaires, stars and the occasional US President.
Full disclosure, Paul and I met briefly when I was leaving Nashville 13-years ago, broke and broken-hearted. He bought my prized bicycle in a yard sale on the rooftop of my apartment building’s parking garage (I like to romantically think he still rides it across the Vineyard thus giving me an even deeper connection to the book).
Paul is an interesting and engaging guy; we were both just off disastrous relationship breakups, worked peripherally in the ‘music biz’ and so for several years checked in with each other via e-mail. We finally lost contact for most of the last 5-6 years. I begin each week by picking five old contacts from my past and committing to reach out to see what is new. Probably 30% of my work has come from these moments and I truly enjoy listening to interesting people and re-connecting.
Paul’s number came up two months ago, we talked and he told me about the book in a 30-minute telephone call. I mentioned this magazine. His agent Susan sent along a copy and traveling recently in the USA (not hitchhiking), two weeks ago I sat by hotel fireplaces in brilliantly unconnected Big Sur, California reading the book and laughing hysterically. People would stop by and I would read a passage aloud about his need to escape the “parental asylum” or replay conversations with the woman in his life he refers to as “The Miracle” and remember too many similar moments in my own life.
Some of it is just laugh out loud funny until tears stream down your face. And… some of it is quite painful. Paul has the ability many great writers do of taking you back to business deals gone bad, ethically challenged partners, giving your all and still getting screwed, loving and losing and yet still keeping a sense of perspective and humour, picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and getting back in the game. That is why I loved this book. Its gentle humour was a solid kick in the pants to get one out there and reconnect with people rather than letting the jerks of life rule and colour one’s every action.