Forever to be known for coining "yada yada" and "double-dipping," "Seinfeld" writer Peter Mehlman has published his first novel, "It Won't Always Be This Great" (Bancroft Press, $25). It is a 338-page monologue, a story told by a nameless Long Island podiatrist to his one-time fraternity brother, now hospitalized in a vegetative state.
Walking home one night, the podiatrist twists his ankle on a bottle of Mossad Kosher Horseradish. Infuriated, he picks it up and hardballs it through the window of Nu? Girl Fashions, owned by a prominent Orthodox Jew. Unfortunately, both the owner and his daughter are his patients.
This newspaper plays a role, as its investigative reporter is the only person who comes close to figuring out what really happened that night. We asked Mehlman a few questions.
On Long Island, people read Newsday. They only get the Times on Sunday.
Why Long Island?
I needed a true suburbia with cold weather and Orthodox Jews.
Why a novel, after a career in television?
Actually, I've always enjoyed writing whole sentences -- in the overall path of my career, "Seinfeld" was a detour.
Is this your voice?
It started as my voice, but it became a little more doubtful and insecure. This guy needs to talk to a person in a coma so he can't be interrupted.
Your book recalls another novel addressed entirely to one listener: "Portnoy's Complaint."
Well, your basic therapist isn't that much different from a coma victim: They don't say much.