"A great deal of critical rancour has been wasted through a failure to distinguish between two totally different kinds of writing.
A: Books a man reads to develop his capacities: in order to know more and perceive more, and more quickly, than he did before he read them.
B: Books that are intended and that serve as REPOSE, dope, opiates, mental beds.
You don't sleep on a hammer or lawn mower, you don't drive nails with a mattress. Why should people go on applying the same critical standards to writings as different in purpose and effect as a lawn mower or sofa cushion?"
Ezra Pound, The ABC of Reading
By this time of year I am often tired of my pants. Shoes, too. Haven't I been wearing the same pair of purplish cords since September? And switching off between my black Danskos and the Vasque trail runners since Christmas?
Winter holds on here in the Midatlantic with dull, stony fingers. And by the end of every winter I truly feel like I've been down in a trench in Ypres sharing my foxhole with a couple of tubercular midgets. We've been trading a cold in this house since before C- went to Egypt in January. This is one evil phenomonon they don't teach you in birth classes. Those parents among us who occupy the higher levels of the parenting guild are sworn to uphold certain codes of secrecy and the utter brutality of this cold-trading cycle is something that we're supposed to keep to ourselves in order to keep the fresh and naive breeding recruits pumping out new humans without any notion of the horrors to follow. But here it is: one kid comes home from school with a cold, not the flu which, when established in a household moves through it as efficiently as any blood-seeking wolf, but the lowly cold: sniffles, itchy throat, swollen sinuses, non-productive cough, general loginess. So Kid 1 comes home with it--usually signalled by coughing in the middle of the night and sleeptalking, two sounds as lonely and blood-chilling as any I could imagine--and about a week later someone else will catch it, usually Adult 1. Only one person. So for a week there will be two sickish people in the house, until Kid 1 starts getting better, at which point Kid 2 will catch the cold. Note that approximately three weeks have elapsed. By the time Adult 2 has caught the cold Kid 1, the original bringer of the cold, will have pretty much gotten rid of it, Adult 1 will be on the mend, while Adult 2 and Kid 2 will be sick with the cold. A month of compromised sleep, endless sniffling and for the adults, the onset of sinusoidal infections. Sweet.
Here's where it gets diabolical: At this point Kid 1 will RECATCH THE COLD. Yes, the cold that he brought into the house a month ago. Either that or he's caught a new one...because, you must understand that throughout these winter months we move among our friends as 17th century Londoners might've, wondering who's hiding their buboes under laters of polyfill. And as Kid 1 recatches the cold, the entire cycle starts again. Our immune systems are completely befuddled, confusedly inviting the cold back into our bodies in a recursive loop...Didn't you just leave? Soon come the dreaded nostril blisters and the full feeling of a band of gypsies living in the caves behind your eyeballs.
Eldest cold-bearer turned 7 on SUnday, March 20, the first day of "spring" in our hemisphere.
Aside from my confusing crush on Elastigirl and being harangued by anonymous former students--Snay, unmask yourself!--I am moving towards SPring with a great sense of purpose and relief. April finds the ANomoanon going on a blessedly short East Coast trip with our cohorts Bonnie and Matt, and sometime soon, maybe even today, I will shave off the winter beard, a tradition that goes back a number of years (I cant remember how many exactly, but let it be know that I not only started the beard fad, but also the goatee fad: I grew my first in 1985 after seeing the picture of Peter Buck on the back of Reckoning).
And also to get my annual haircut.
And now, I leave you with a junk email I received in my yahoo account. THose Nigerian scammers seem to be taking hints from my former students, really having tightened up their narrative focus, gotten rid of the "look how fancily I can make no sense!"- impulse and adding a bit of character-based intrigue into the mix:
FROM: Dr.Joel Williams(PHD),
GRAND FINANCE AND TRUST BANK.
RUE CLUB DE L' AMITIE,
0251 B.P. 1625 COTONOU,
My Dear Friend,
In Oder to transfer to overseas $28.5 million(USD)
from GRAND FINANCE AND TRUST BANK,Bénin Republique.
I want to ask you to quietly look for a reliable
and honest person who will be capable and fit to provide
either an existing bank account or to set up a new Bank
a/c immediately to receive this money, even an empty a/c
can serve to receive this funds quitely.
I am Dr.Joel Williams(PHD), the accountant/auditor of
the above Finance Corporation in Cotonou,Bénin Republique
and personal confidant to Mr.Alvaro Quesada
of Dominican Republic in Caribbean Island who died in a Plane
Crash accident(2002-04-19) on his way to attend a weddind
ceremony together with his wife and only Child (Alvaro Jr).
Mr.Alvaro Quesada, is From Dominican Republic in Caribbean Island,
and a prosperous Tobacco merchant, he died in the year 2002
without having any beneficiary to his assets including his account
here in Bénin which he opened in the above stated bank in the year
2001 as his personal savings for the purpose of expansion
and developement of his company in Africa before his
untimely death in 2002.Until his death,he was the president
of the Dominican Tobacco Exporters Association.
And from my Investigation,i found out that No other person
knows about this account because he( Mr.Alvaro Quesada )
never knew that he is going to die so soon, and so
his purpose was not achieved. If i don't remit this money
immediately, it will get lost(may be it will go into the
pockets of the corrupt government officials who will never
use it for any reasonable thing at all).
I dont want to miss this opportunity because it comes ones
in a life time.
The amount involved is $28.5 million(USD)Twenty eight
million,five hundred United States Dollars and no other
person knows about this account. I am contacting you for
us to transfer this funds to your account as the beneficiary,
I want to first transfer $16,000.000.00(Sixteen million USD)
from this money into a safe account abroad, after which we
will transfer the remaining (12.5M). I am only contacting
you as a foreigner because this money cannot be approved
to a local person here, without a valid foreign
international passport, but can only be approved to any
foreigner with valid international passport or drivers
license and foreign a/c, this is because the money is in
US Dollars and the former owner of the a/c, Alvaro Quesada
is a foreigner too, and as such the money can only be
approved into a foreign a/c.
However, I am revealing this to you with belief in God
that you will never let me down in this business.I don't
know you and have never seen you before,i only got your
contacts from an international directory which my
secretary provided for me. You are the first and the only
person that I am contacting for this business, so please
reply urgently so that I will inform you the next step to
take. Send also your private telephone and fax number.
I need your full co-operation to make this work because
the management is ready to approve this payment to any
foreigner who has correct information of this account,
which I will give to you, upon your positive response and
once I am convinced that you are capable and will meet up
with instruction of a keybank official who is deeply
involved with me in this business.
I want to tell you that this transaction is 100% risk free
and legal because all the documents that will back up this
transaction will be available, so that no body will
question the fund when it is finaly tranfered to your
At the conclusion of this business, you will be given 40%
of the total amount and 60% will be for me. I look forward
to your earliest reply through this email.
Thanks for your time.