Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Constantly In Touch With My Nadir*

I deal in despair. I deal with despair. I despair quite frequently over my, relatively speaking, excellent circumstances. And the truth is that I hate to belabor the point, but I am the apotheosis of one who lives in despair. I've got money in my bank account, a beautiful wife, a college education, and if my religion turns out to be right then I'm going to heaven—but don't forget that I'm an America, the necessary corollary being I take all that for granted and generally envy everyone else. The quotidian is such a given, but still we (the royal we, as in "we Americans") think we're too good for it. Even to be mordant about it is still a form of sheltering yourself from the truth.

I know that man at large would readily enjoin a prescription for my woes: Take delight in your day to day and count your blessings. Of course, technically they are right, but life is so much more difficult than following platitudes. The truth is that I suffer in thralldom to my discouragement. I've become inured to doubting my every threat of possibility.

I think I am in irredentist in the sense that I believe we should still have duels. You know, with the guns and the paces and the honor? I love the idea of the whole turgid affair; the crepuscular machinations, the no nonsense, realpolitik liaison. I advocate on behalf of it because it would occlude so much of the hot air that is expelled in our culture. "Oh really, you think you're better than me, that's it, let's duel." If it were truly to be effective then it would have to be sanctioned by law or else it would be so uncommon as to be irrelevant. The matter should be put to a plebiscite; would the solipsistic cowards win out? Probably. Of course I fear a bullet, but I don't run from it. I try to abnegate myself when the world is looking. Now what I do in the dark, thankfully no one else sees that. Does this make me essentially protean? Aren't all of us? Show me a man who is the same around his mother and his brother and his coke dealer and I will show you a clarion-call liar. Anyone who offers me any disputation on this point is exactly the selfsame as I am describing, and if not then a simulacrum of said liar.

The truth is that I advocate dueling because I am an old hand at jumping to conclusions. "May we get the damn thing over with," would be another way of expressing it. I don't want to say that I make an effort to extirpate the details, but I'm at a loss to find a better way to put it. Of course I could launch into a casuistry wherein I show you that up is really down and that dispensing with the details is really the highest form of genius. Oh, it would be glorious, and I could truly pull it off. The peroration would begin with over two dozen allusions to Shakespeare and his ilk. For my part, to take such action would be to suborn a favorable reaction from you, dear reader. Once you came to your senses you'd cry, "imposture!" and you'd be right. You'd throw all kinds of obloquy my way, and after initial, lackluster protestations I would probably join you in your disapprobation.

The truth is that I get most of what I want through lapidary means, but, come to think of it, that really is neither here nor there.

*It should be noted that all of the above words that I linked for your enlightenment were words that I highlighted during my reading this past week because I did not know them. They were all from Christopher Hitchens' book, "Letters to a Young Contrarian," which was, needless to say, excellent. Nay, a freshet of gnomic delight.

p.s. I know you don't nadir, and of course I wasn't clear on it either, and you can't do links in your title, hence the link in the p.s.

1 comment:

Jessica DesLongchamp said...

Public Reacts:
"His latest blog? Oh ya, I mean, I guess it's original and smart and everything, but my God! That was the most frustrating thing I've read."
- Area Woman