Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"if you don't like whiskey, then you better get used to wine, cause wine is fine"

The amount of television I have watched these past two days is pretty disgusting and has had the effect of depressing me. Both what I have watched, and the fact that I watched so much of it, wasted so many minutes, so many hours. I haven't had to work these past couple days during the strike and so I have no awful stories to share as my roommate does and seemingly everyone else about walking for hours or getting charged obscene amounts on cab rides.

I have a long quote from Lord Chesterfield that I want to share with you because it has been on my thoughts since I read this about a week ago. It was written almost exactly 257 years ago on December 30, 1748, and so I think that the theme of a new year approaching and what to do with these years and these months, days, hours, and minutes, is particularly relevent, and here it is:

"Do what you will at Berlin, provided you do but do something all day long. All I desire of you is, that you will never slattern away one minute in idleness, in doing nothing. When you are not in company, learn what either books, masters, or Mr. Harte can teach you; and, when you are in company, learn (what company only can teach you) the characters and manners of mankind. I really ask your pardon for giving you this advice; because, if you are a rational creature, and a thinking being, as I suppose, and verily believe you are, it must be unnecessary, and to a certain degree injurious. If I did not know by experience, that some men pass their whole time in doing nothing, I should not think it possible for any being, superior to M. Descartes's automatons, to squander away, in absolute idleness, one single minute of that small portion of time which is allotted to us in this world.


I send you, my dear child (and you will not doubt) very sincerely, the wishes of the season. May you deserve a great number of happy New Years; and, if you deserve, may you have them. Many New Years, indeed, you may see, but happy ones you cannot see without deserving them. These, virtue, honour, and knowledge, alone can merit, alone can procure. Dii tibi dent annos, de te nam caetera sumes [May the gods grant you a long life, for other advantages you must secure for yourself.], was a pretty piece of poetical flattery, where it was said: I hope that, in time, it may be no flattery when said to you. But I assure you, that whenever I cannot apply the latter part of the line to you with truth, I shall neither say, think, nor wish the former. Adieu!"

And yet, most of the past two days have been spent wastefully. Chesterfield would certainly wish me dead were I his son. I have been so ravenous and most of my day has been spent either cooking, eating, or in between eatings and thinking of what I was going to eat next. There has also been lots of masturbation, lots of watching local news outraged at some of the sentiments I hear expressed on it. I did write today and I mean to do so every day. I am already starting to make resolutions for myself, bracing for one's I will declare on New Year's. I did not study Greek for an hour today as I had told myself I would but there are still some hours left in this day to do so, but having drunk half a bottle of wine already, it seems pretty unlikely that any Greek book will be opened this evening, doubtful that it will even leave the bookshelf. In addition, a couple days ago, I resolved that this was my last pack of cigarettes and there are six or so left in it, and we will see how well I hold to this resolution, especially when drunk. I have read under natural sunlight lots of fiction these past two days (another resolution). And I have exercised (another resolution), and yes, I am counting doing pseudo-ballet to Charlie Parker as exercise. I was exhausted and felt so good afterward. Charlie Parker spastic dance marathons are going to hopefully become a part of each one of my days also.

Tomorrow, hopefully my paycheck arrives at work and I will leave the house, walk the 3.4 miles Mapquest says it is to my job and cash that shit and buy a nice burger and presents for my mom and step-dad and I'll hopefully even run into people and interact with human beings, something that I am sure has been causing some of the depression of the past couple days, that I have not left the house and my roommates have not even been home.

I have had the International Fiction issue of The New Yorker, and it has been good to me, but it certainly is no substitute for human beings. October 4, 1746: "The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet. Books alone will never teach it to you; but they will suggest things to your observations, which might otherwise escape you; and your own observations upon mankind, when compared with those which you will find in books, will help you to fix the point." I would recommend that you pick up this issue, despite Lord Chesterfield, because the three short stories I have read so far are amazing. The Roberto Bolano, Nabakov, and Tahar Ben Jelloun stories are so good and I wish you would read them. I want to share the gold I find.

My second least favorite noise ever: car horns.

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