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Calvin Trillin is a journalist, humorist and novelist. Best known for his humorous writing about food and eating, he is also the author of several books of fiction, nonfiction essays,[…]

Calvin Trillin describes his irrational fear of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

Question: What keeps you up at night?

Calvin Trillin: Oh, small matters like whether the boiler guy is gonna come and when [I’m] supposed to get things. I usually go to sleep and wake up and I’m thinking of these things. I’m not sure they wake me up. I once gave a talk not long after 9/11 to some library people in Brooklyn; I mean friends of the library in Brooklyn or something like that, and someone said are you concerned about flying after 9/11; you fly a lot, and I said yeah what concerns me is that you have to show your I.D. so much. I’m afraid I’ll lose my driver’s license, and you might say I’m more afraid of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles than I am of Arab terrorists, and a week or two later I got a letter from somebody in the audience who said she knew of a very good psychiatrist who specialized in people who were worried about small matters such as that, and I said well that actually was a joke, but sometimes I think I could use that guy.

Recorded on:  October 8, 2009