"The Pint Man," Steve Rushin's first novel, is a guy's answer to chick lit, replete with odes to urinals, riffs on designer basketball shoes and bits of historical drinking trivia. With no pretensions of literary genius, the book succeeds, thanks to the Bloomington native and former Sports Illustrated columnist's brilliant wordplay and witty banter.

Rushin tells the story of Rodney Toole, an unemployed 35-year-old Minnesota transplant in Manhattan, whose greatest ambition is to drink a beer at every bar in the borough. Unemployed and about to be abandoned by his best friend to marriage, Rodney meets a woman himself and falls into an existential crisis.

He lost his job in corporate communications, because of a typo -- compliant for complaint -- that prompted his CEO to apologize for a sexual harassment charge: "I make it a point, once a month, to dip my hand into every compliant box in our headquarters. And more often than not I come away with compliments."

Rushin, like Rodney, fell in love with the possibilities of language when as a young boy he encountered the palindrome, "I'm a lasagna hog, go hang a salami." His execution of the possibilities makes this an enjoyable read for either gender.