Wednesday, April 7, 2021

You Could Make a Killing


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There is nothing that competes with habit
And I know it's neither deep nor tragic
It's simply that you have to have it

That first cocktail, a gentle way of transitioning the concerns of the day into the pleasures of the night.  The blessing.  The curse.  Why must such delightful indulgence have a negative attached?  I invoke such pleasures here for I know some enjoy singing in the church choir just as much.  They look forward to rehearsal with great anticipation, the camaraderie and piousness, and they never need suffer from it.  Everything I've chosen wants to cripple me.  A lifetime of playing basketball on hard courts has destroyed my knees, hips, and spine.  The gym has crippled my shoulders, elbows, and wrists.  My beloved Vespa the rest.  I should have been a gardener.  I should have been a devout Baptist.  And what was my sin?  


I wish I was both young and stupid
Then I too could have the fun that you did
Till it was time to pony up what you bid

 I watched part two of the Hemingway trilogy last night.  What did I expect?  It is not made for Hemingway scholars.  It is made for the uninitiated or partially initiated audience.  Were I watching such a thing on many great and famous people, I would be happily fascinated.  The Hem doc is accurate and informative on that level.  Nothing to kick about.  Oh, but yesterday I forgot to mention one egregious mistake, made, probably, because Hemingway, by and large, is not the area of expertise for their onscreen scholars.  They said that Jake Barnes in "The Sun Also Rises" suffered from impotence.  That is not correct.  His wound is much worse than that.  Jake has been wounded in such a way that part of his penis has been blown away.  His testicles function fine.  When he stands before the mirror naked, a scene they highlight in the documentary, he thinks that of all the ways to be wounded, this is most absurd.  My own reading of the novel suggests that he is still capable of masturbation and orgasm, and that he and Lady Brett Ashley have tried making love, but that it was not satisfying to Brett.  Jake is a man with an itch he cannot scratch which is far more pathetic, his case being pathos and not tragedy.  I think some readers are led to believe he is impotent by the scene where he dines with the prostitute and takes her to meet his friends.  That is my take on it, anyway.  

Hemingway was a young man when he wrote that novel and was soon to suffer from impotence brought on by the guilt of leaving his wife Hadley for Pauline.  The follies of youth are often hard to recover from, and so we attempt instead to recover our youth.  Such was the case of a man who called himself "Papa."

I could follow you and search the rubble
Or stay right here and save myself some trouble
Or try to keep myself from seeing double

One of the hazards of reading too much when you are young is that your intellect is not fully formed and you pick up only on the pieces of literature that attract you.  Or so it seems to me now having suffered from the plague of literature. for so long.  You can end up making what you read your sacred texts that  serve as a moral roadmap. And it is, but often not to the places you intended to go.  Looking back, you can trace that crooked journey fairly well, but by then the roads are closed and as much as you would like, there is no returning to where you began.  So way leads to way, and curiosities become habit, and habits become routine, and all the things that you thought would build you up lead to your demise, and what you once thought no longer seems to hold water.  But you know, hindsight and all. . . .  

Oh I could make a killing
Yeah I could make a killing
I could make a killing

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