I own Philip Roth’s doorstop.

Let me explain.

As you may know, the great American author Philip Roth passed away last year. I was a big fan of his, and not only that, I had the honor of being in a seminar he taught at the University of Pennsylvania, when I was in college.

I qualify as a Roth fangirl.

Though he's no Bradley Cooper.

Anyway, I noticed an ad saying that his estate was going to be selling off his personal effects at an online auction.

So you know where this is going.

I registered for the auction, got out my checkbook, and counted down the days.

Correction, there’s no such thing as a checkbook anymore, and you register for the auction by giving them your credit card and using the same password you use on everything else, which is being hacked by the Russians as we speak.

I also scrolled through the items that the auction was selling from Roth's estate, and one item that jumped out at me was Philip Roth’s old Olivetti manual typewriter.

Literary gold!

Catnip for book nerds!

There were also two black IBM Selectric typewriters, but they were electric and therefore have no interest to me.

I was going for the English-major butter churn.

The auction house estimated the Philip Roth Olivetti typewriter would eventually sell for $300. And I was so excited about trying to get the typewriter that I actually placed an opening bid for it before the auction even began, $150.

I was trying to scare everybody off with my bag of money.

What a sport.

I was willing to go as high as $500, a number that didn’t even appear in the auction, except in my imagination.

In fact, the Philip Roth Olivetti typewriter ended up selling for $17,500.

I got outbid.

By three billion.

Evidently, there are more English majors around than I realized.

If you think $17,500 is a lot of money for a typewriter, so do I.

But it works, so there's that.

Maybe it writes books, all by itself?

In that case, it’s a steal.

The IBM Selectrics went for $4,800 and $5,000, so go figure.

Meanwhile, who knew Philip Roth used a typewriter?

Now we all do.

You can buy a lot of computer for five grand.

Though I lost out on the Philip Roth typewriter, I saw a consolation prize.

A cast-iron doorstop that had once been in Philip Roth’s master bathroom that was shaped like a basket of flowers.

Literary flowers.

Portnoy’s Complaint flowers.

Should’ve-Won-the-Nobel-Prize-for-Literature flowers.

And you know, I needed a doorstop.

Truly, I did.

Not in my master bathroom, as I have no master anymore, and ain’t it great?

And really, who wants the door to their bathroom kept open?

On the contrary.

I would love to be able to close my bathroom door, but I live with four dogs who follow me in.

And watch.

But instead I needed a doorstop on my front door, and Philip Roth’s was beckoning.

I lost the typewriter, but I wasn’t about to lose the doorstop.

I wanted my piece of Philip Roth.

I made an opening bid at $100, and I was ready to go as high as $300, since that’s what an antique doorstop costs, even without the dead Philip Roth multiplier.

Now there’s a turn of phrase of which he would’ve approved.

Anyway, I got the Philip Roth master bathroom doorstop!

For only $275!

As the auction euphemistically puts it, I WON!

So why do I feel like a LOSER?


I was stricken by buyer’s remorse.

Did I really need a $300 doorstop?

And did I really want one that had been in Philip Roth’s bathroom?

The answer was a resounding maybe.

In any event, it’s already charged, plus the 30% for the auction house.

Wasn’t there anybody who loved Philip Roth enough to keep his bathroom doorstop?

Or his Olivetti typewriter?

What about his Yogi Berra baseball bat ($4,000) or his Sandy Koufax baseball card ($950)? Not to mention his stereo, desk lamp, rugs, and a standing heat lamp ($100).

Meanwhile, who ever heard of a standing heat lamp?

I figured out it went with his standing desk ($125).

He was a tall guy.

Which made me sad.

I don’t want to know this much about Philip Roth.

I admire him too much to know this much about him.

Or paw through his personal effects.

Because they're personal.

All I’m saying is that after I'm dead, if they auction off anything from my bathroom, I’m hereby requesting you find something better to do with your money.

Like, anything.

Buy cigarettes and booze.

Or chocolate cake.

Or anything Bradley Cooper is selling.

I don’t have a literary toilet roll.

Or toothbrush.

Or tweezers.

But I do have a doorstop.