Tuesday, October 17, 2023

A Week of Ouch.

Last week.
What a fucking week. 

There's nothing more apt to make you feel like a modern human than a world gone mad. A world where the great forces of evil and intolerance seem arrayed against you--and you can do nothing to push back.

I'm reading Edith Wilson's great new translation of The Iliad. She is one of the great intellects and classicists of our time and she talks about a problem translating Homer's Greek to our modern idiom.

Homer had a dozen words for spear. So when the word spear appeared in a stanza or two, Homer could shake things up a bit. We don't have that semantic breadth. Missile to us means a flying bomb. Dart is a pub game. And javelin is an occasional Olympic event. So those are all out.

That's how I feel with actual weapons. I can't fight Hamas or anyone else. I am, rare for Amerika, gunless. I'm also nearing 66 years of age. And also, I should add, gutless. So I can be angry at a world gone mad, but I can't really fight back except with a blogpost or a joke. 

Paging Rich Siegel...Help!

I know how King Canute felt trying to hold back the sea. Words are futile when you'd prefer to sock someone in the kisser.

However, on Saturday, in the rain, we went up to Connecticut to see the progress on our seaside cottage which has for the past year or so been in the process of being unramshackled. The cottage was supposed to be done at the start of the summer, four months ago, and will likely be finished only six months late, which in the parlance of well-heeled contractors means three months early.

That's modern math. Nothing adds up and you pay through the schnozz for it.

The best thing about visiting my income in Connecticut after this crazy week was the drive up there and back.


But harrowing in a good way. 

Too many cars on too few roads. But for a lifelong New Yorker with anger-management issues, the stress of 220 miles of urbanized highway driving is exactly what I needed.

In New York, they don't measure cars by miles per gallon. Rather, it's middle-fingers per mile. And mine is no economy model.

There were a dozen lane mergers where I refused to let last-minute assholes in. There were two-dozen stretches of open road where I let my 1966 Simca 1600 with a 200,000-miled BMW 2.8 liter straight six engine inside air it out a bit. And most satisfyingly there were red lights.

I've learned along the way that the official and correct definition of a "New York Minute," is the length of time it takes a New York taxi driver to blow his horn at the car in front of him after the stoplight turns green. 

Following that lead, and getting the duration from light-change to honk down to a nano-second is about as satisfying a foray into assholery as I'm going to get in a world where I'm too old, feeble and fat to get into a fistfight anymore.

So, honk I must.

Raising the bar on New York minutes. And lowering the bar on good old-fashioned civility.

I know acting this way ain't right. It's mean. And not the way to make the world better.

But sometimes a man has to do what a man shouldn't do.

I even very nearly stopped for a slice at Bruckner New York Style Pizza. I thought very seriously about crusting myself to death. A sort of New York Seppuku. But my breathtakingly level-headed spouse demurred and persuaded me that I had so much to live for. Like perpetual change-orders in our Connecticut home.

Preston Sturges once wrote, "A man works his whole life in a glass factory, one day he picks up a hammer."

Sorry, I picked up a hammer.

Sorry to everyone I honked at.

I should have had one small slice.

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