Showing posts from February, 2011

The Muted Philippic: Rehearsed, But Unvoiced

He was peddling books.  No, he did not carry the books with him.  You picked the books you wanted to buy from his fancy little pamphlet.  These books would then be “donated” to an elementary school.  The cheapest book was fifty bucks.  “I accept cash or check,” he said, “and I have to give you a receipt.”  He showed me a booklet of rectangular chits that looked receipt-ish.  He seemed eager to write up a receipt for me.  What kind of person is eager to write up a receipt?  One who is desperate to make a sale, I suppose.  Or, one who is eager to steal another's identity.  Religious books were listed in his fancy little pamphlet, but, he said, he was not allowed to sell them.  I did not notice these religious books-- he pointed them out.  Perhaps he meant to elicit an emotional response the likes of:  “That’s really too bad,” or “Stupid public socialist school system,” or “Why not?”  And then perhaps he would launch into a muted philippic against The Government--something or other

Punk-Kid, English-Speaker Seeker & Broker-Boy

The following incident occurred on Friday, October 8, 2010 at approximately 11:50 ante meridiem: He said he lived around the corner and down the block.  He said he took care of his grandparents.  As fate would have it, I take care of my grandfather.  He said he was raising money to arrange a trip to London.  There, he would intern for the BBC .  No, not as a presenter, or a reporter, or as a newsreader; no, this Punk-Kid standing on my stoop would be learning behind-the-camera, technical stuff.  “Oh, the BBC,” I said.  I was impressed, I was envious, and it showed.  I rather enjoy that Mike Embley chap on the BBC World News.  True, this Punk-Kid looked more like a run-of-the-mill junkie than a news junkie, but I am often too quick to judge.  ON-THE-SPOT HYPOTHESIS:  Perhaps this Punk-Kid was endeavoring to turn his life around--somehow, he caught a break--and if only he could raise enough money for the trip, he would see his dream through.  END ON-THE-SPOT HYPOTHESIS.  This Punk-Kid o

The Peeled Kvetch

Rilke was right.  (Or:  Rilke was correct.)  (Or:  Rilke was a banana.)  (No, he wasn’t a banana, he was a poet.)  (Okay, maybe he was a banana and a poet, but I’ve never heard of a banana named Rilke.)  (Perhaps, I will name the banana I peel tomorrow morning, “Rilke.”)  (And, perhaps, the following day, I will name the banana I peel then, “Rilke, Jr.”)  (Or:  perhaps not.)  (Initially, I addressed this post to Rilke himself--as a dead poet, not as a peeled banana--but as the tone of the post grew more hostile, I shelved that idea.)  My “daily life seems poor” and I am “not poet enough to call forth its riches.”  But I do not blame it, I blame myself.  And so, as I have always done, I exaggerate my poor (or seemingly poor) daily life.  I make a mockery of it.  Nobody would find amusement in reading an unadulterated record of all the mundane rituals I partake in day in and day out.  (Perhaps I should have edited out “day in and day out,” but, as you can see, I lacked the initiative t

Pious Lepisma Saccharina

When I opened the so-called “storm” door, this punk-kid stepped up onto the front stoop and reached out to shake my hand.  I shook it.  Yes, my hand was sanitized; his was likely not.  Recapitulating:  I was sleepy.  I was caught unawares.  I was eager to get rid of him.  So I shook his hand.  Germs and all.  Initial observation:  Weak grip.  His, not mine.  (Wasn’t clammy, though.  As a lad, I suffered greatly from chronic clammy palms.  Now, middle-aged, or thereabouts, I am clammy no more.)  Should you ever shake my hand, I will take great pains to match the firmness or intensity of your grip.  Some people will take great pains to exceed the amount of pressure you apply during a handshake.  I am more considerate.  That makes me a better man.  Back to the punk.  I cannot recall if he spoke before offering his hand, or while we engaged in the handshake, or after the shaking ritual had run its course.  I very much doubt we stood there and shook (hands) in silence.  One moment, plea