my- my - my what a curious surprise this is !!!
| The Cat’s Meow
Even if we might think we are the cat's meow or the cat's pajamas or the cat's whiskers or something, we can never know what will embarrass us until it happens, can we? And these unexpected events cut deep. They are harder to forget than anything else.
I read a guy's advice once about using words that we are not too familiar with, unsure of pronouncing, and concerning occasions when we are unsure if we even have the facts straight but it is necessary to speak up for one reason or the other: He was of the opinion that paltering is to be avoided at all costs. His idea was just go ahead and make your booboo out loud and the louder the better
We don't know what will surprise us either ... some of my choice memories, are in this area. And of course most jokes fall into this category. I have found out that a surprise or a joke a day seems to keep me in very good humor. I hardly ever fall into the doldrums, that dread place where mama spent a good part of her days ... I was surprised to find out this is a real place on earth (in the horse latitudes) where sailing ships can be becalmed for days on end, and when I was first married I knew what boredom was for sure. It was staying home alone all day and never getting "to go along" any more.
Heck without surprises there is hardly any enchantment. In life. Well I suppose what poet's call "beauty", or when I gaze at the moon of nights and can't drag myself away (?)
" a strangeness of aspect that throws you off balance, and then sucks you in " that's my pasted together thought on it. And if it makes you laugh so much the better.
I can hear mama saying : "the nerve of that genk! He has the crust of a lunch wagon pie". I never wanted anyone to think I had that kind of crust, though I later found out some lunch wagon pies were not bad at all. Especially if hungry.
I am still reading William Douglas' autobiography "Go East, Young Man" and I just hate to finish it. I don't want to let go of a good friend ... words by the person himself I like best and there is a lot to be said for biographies too, you get two for one, you get acquainted with the author and his ideas too as well as the those of the person he is writing about. In this case I hardly think any biographer could do as well though. I learned about politics even more than I wished to know . .... Washington, D.C. close up!
I have two other books about Washington but so far I have not had any particular urge to read them, they have been on the bottom shelf of one of my bookcases for years: "The Powers That Be" by David Halversham. & "The Power Game, How Washington Works" by Hedrick Smith.
I may be ready now though to read that last one since I have just now discovered Hedrick Smith is also the author of another book I have just recently finished, one I could hardly lay down., "the Russians". I have not been so enthralled by a description of a place and its people since I read John Gunther's "Inside Australia"
I have P. J. O'rourke's " Parliament Of Whores" though and I read it right off. He has a well-developed sense of just how scandalous our government truly is, and how gullible our people are; it is almost possible to use the word "stupid" and mean it. Only it is not stupidity, it is something frightfully like brainwashing, it is so similar to what smith shows as a constant background for the life in Moscow. It is so like Viet Nam, where every one is against and it doesn't seem to matter a tinker's damn. This negates every-thing our country is supposed to stand for. Well, doesn't it?
About Douglas and his accident I thought he might not write about it but he did. According to him when you are traveling in the mountains you can look for landslides most any old time. His horse felt a tremor further up the hill that day and reared. Douglas was lucky enough not to be thrown outright or maybe he would have been better off if he had been. He slid off the rear end of the horse instead and was beginning to get up when the horse completely lost its footing and fell right on top of him then rolled over and over to the bottom of the slope.
The horse was not hurt but of course douglas was smashed to smithereens, 23 ribs broken out of 24, and then broken some more. When they let him out of the hospital several months later the doctors were sorry as could be that he would never more do the extensive hiking he was so fond of or go off on his mountain climbing adventures. His lungs had lost their capacity to expand, and he was stuck with that.
Not so as it turned out, his first free time found him in the orient crossing the Himalayas ... pretty darned high mountains if you ask me. He wasn't a young man by any means when this happened either, I think he was in his sixties. Doctors don't know it all.
When I read about this I felt the same way as I did when I read about you. It has something to do with fortitude and guts, things I lack. And my thoughts extend to a feeling of gratitude to people who let you know how it was with them during this strange journey we take from birth to death.
Another biography I have read within these last several weeks was so astonishing it makes me laugh just sitting here .... it was contained in Stendhal's "the red and the black" (fiction, but the trial and the life story uncovered by the trial were real)
I have had a little book of Stendhal's published under his real name Henri Beyle that I have cherished for many years. It was published long long after his death but reveals why he couldn't produce an autobiography ....the prospect of writing all those "I's and "me's" intimidated him so greatly he never did write one,
He just jotted down what it would be nice to include if he did get around to it, things to remember and little drawings to joggle his memory of where furniture stood and floor plans of places he lived. It brings him very close, you can see where he stood as a little boy for instance in his uncle's study overlooking a main boulevard in Paris during some of events of the french revolution. You know his thoughts when he became a soldier, and his first experiences in the army.
There is a sentence underneath the title on the cover of my paper-back of "the red and the black" that calls the story "a stirring bitter classic about a man at war with himself."
I used to think that the "red and black" of the title referred somehow to gambling, but no this is a story of the ongoing battle between the church and the secular branches of government, who's boss. The hero is a young priest who tries to make sense of the ordinary everyday events in a small village far from Paris, and later in Paris, plus a run-down on a famous criminal trial of the time ..
The dedication is "to the happy few." And so I close to ponder on that., and wonder who is happier the hypocrite himself or the one who points the finger at him.