Some people stare at me in disbelief when I tell them how optimistic I am about the future. They think I'm indulging in gallows humor. But this is how I feel. And being here, at the Front, has only served to strengthen my resolve. Yes, you see, man is evolving right before our very eyes. The blasted bits strewn throughout this desolate landscape attest to a great period of human growth. I'm sorry, but I don't want to be a naysayer. There are already too many of those types around. These are the types that hear the cries of anguish from their fellow soldiers and start to despair. I shan't think of it. I am here because I want to help as many people as possible. That's what human beings are for. And I am a human being. I want people to be happy no matter what the circumstance. If one can find happiness in such a place then anything can be accomplished. Just yesterday I was doing my duty as a stretcher bearer, and we came to a young man whose legs were nothing more than two quivering bloody stumps. The young man asked me if I knew where his legs were. I said I did not. He asked me if I could put his legs back on. I told him that if I could find them I would do my best. He thanked me and then he smiled and died. But what a moment we shared. There was a generosity of spirit that I find very infectious. Imagine a world in which there are a million, a billion moments just like this, all happening at the same time. The Earth is very large. There is enough room for everyone. There is enough water and food. There are enough natural resources to build a glittering global network of mechanized utopias. Maybe no one has heard the news. Maybe someone needs to tell everyone the news. Maybe I am that man. Or maybe not. I don't know. All I know is that my fellow man is eager to sacrifice himself for what he believes in. I see it every day and you can color me impressed. There is so much for us to be proud of. Look at what we can accomplish when we put our minds together. Look around you. It's all just so exciting. There is such passion and commitment. Some people don't understand where the grace and glory are to be found, and I don't understand how these people cannot see what is before their very eyes. Think of the aero plane. And the radio. What are these great inventions but the means by which mankind will finally get in touch with itself and come into full consciousness? Am I the only one who sees this? It can't be. To think that one day I might be able to reach millions of people with my voice and say, Nothing has been lost, what we have experienced here is but a minor historical hiccup, the Kingdom of God is within reach, and such and such, but oh, that was a big one, wasn't it? And a little too close. Perhaps we should move.
All I am saying is that Carl didn't have to be so rude. That's why I was shocked. That's why I fainted. Because I had no idea where it was coming from. All that vitriol. Or maybe I did. I don't know. It's very hard to say. It turns out this issue might be a little more complicated than I had originally thought. And I think the key word here is originally. As in who came up with this issue in the first place? Me. That's who. I am the beginning, of all of this, me, it's me, I'm the one. I'm the foundation. No, I'm the tree. I'm the tree that brings life to the leaves. No, that's not what I mean. I mean, I'm the roots of the tree. Without the roots the tree cannot live. I assume. I don't know. I'm having a hard time explaining myself. This is rare. But I'm not going to blame myself. I'm going to blame the language. Good Christ, do you have any idea how much I hate using metaphors? They're so, what's the word? What am I trying to say? Clumsy. Yes, they're clumsy and whenever I try and use them they slip out of my hands, hands, which are, of course, metaphorical too. I give up. That being said, let me just say that I harbor no ill will towards Carl. Besides, my harbor isn't big enough. Do you understand? Do you understand what I'm saying? Of course you don't. You have no idea what I'm talking about. This is simply wonderful. Because I think I've made myself very clear. I think I've gone out of my way to make myself comprehensible to even the man on the street, the man for whom a life of the mind is a pipe dream. By the way, I have no idea what dreams have to do with pipes. A dream cannot be a pipe. Sometimes even a pipe is not a pipe. But this is a pipe. Or maybe not. I don't know. Maybe this is not a pipe. Yes, it looks like a pipe, but maybe it's not a pipe after all. I have no reason to believe it's not. And I have no reason to want to keep to myself, and a select group people, the fruits of my labor. And this is how I'm treated. As if what I have to say has suddenly become irrelevant. Well, I assure you it is not. Or, maybe it is. I have no idea. I guess we'll just have to let history sort it all out, won't we? But not Carl. Carl wants to be done with it. He wants to be done with me. He wants to get rid of me. But why? What did I ever do to him? I thought I was good to him. But of course, this is how the story goes. The story goes how the story goes, and of course the story goes on without me. It's funny. You would think I would already understand all of this. Or maybe I do. I don't know. I need to sit down and think about it some more. You're on your own.
It's been a long time since I impressed my wife. So when I got home from the office, I told her about my plan. I told her I was going to go off the books. She asked me if anyone else knew. I said, Maury knows. I told her it was Maury's idea. I told her there was a client with an emergency, they were injured in a car accident, they don't have the money right now, and if we don't file the motion, then, well, sorry, too bad. The client could get the cuffs. Locked up. And this is after the motion should have been filed a long time ago. So everyone has something to lose. My wife asked me what my cut was going to be and I said, Enough to get us through the holiday season. My wife was not impressed.
My problem with the Bohemians is that they are too smart for their own good. Their ability to analyze and evaluate sociological shifts is unparalleled, but it paralyzes their moral mechanics. And in order to combat the malaise of having to exist, what do they do? They loiter in restaurants and belittle the character of everyone who walks by. For their own amusement. Everything is for their own amusement. They gather in snickering clumps. But I will admit that the Bohemians do have the uncanny ability to see around the corner. What can they see? You don't want to know. And how do they do this? I don't want to know, to be honest with you. At a fundamental level I do not understand them, and although I feel it is my job to try and understand my fellow man, the Bohemians make this job very difficult. I loathe the Bohemians and their politics of refusal. They do not feel responsible to anyone but themselves, and I find this to be a very dangerous attitude towards a world that is getting smaller by the day. They feel they have earned a vacation from history. They would rather be spectators. And that is their inalienable right, I suppose. What I find insidious, however, is that the Bohemians understand what they are doing, they can explain to you why they are doing what they are doing, they know it may be right, or it may be wrong, and it is within this cocoon of ambiguity that they reside. I have listened to their fancy talk, and it all sounds brilliant, beautiful and darkly humorous in its own way, this kind of detachment, but it cancels itself out, and there you are, feeling spiritually depleted. At least that was my experience in Paris. Ask me tomorrow and I might have a better answer. Today, as a whole, has been a complete wash. I have failed myself as a citizen in ways too numerous and sordid to mention. And, as usual, at the first sign of discontent, my immediate response is to abase myself, make my way towards the bakery, and relieve the store of all its goods and particulars.
The Unofficial Mayor Of Motor City
I need your help. I need your time and I need your money. I don't know where else turn. I asked my boss if I could get an advance and he said to me, he said, No. He said he would like to help me, but that he couldn't. He said he wasn't doing the usual song and dance. He said if I had asked him at any other time he would have said yes. He said things were tough all over. So I thanked him for his time. I was nice about it. Because I know it's not his fault. It's not his fault, and it's not my fault. It's no one's fault. I understand that. I can see that these things just happen. To good people and to bad. That being said, you have to help me. I'm about to go down in flames. I'm trapped. I'm acting funny to myself. My boys don't want to be around me. It's like they don't recognize me sometimes, Your Honor. Do you know how much it hurts to have your boys look at you like that? Because you can't afford to take care of them? It's too much. I'm overwhelmed with a light shakiness. And I don't know where my family is going to go if we get kicked out on the streets. This is what's scaring me the most. I don't know the streets. I am too old to learn how to survive on the streets. I will not be able to protect my family. That's why I am doing everything I can to keep the status quo. I might even sell some of my organs. I made an appointment with an organ donor clinic across the border. That's how bad it is, Your Honor. I'm going to have to sell one of my kidneys and one of my lungs. The amount they're willing to pay for them is enough to feed and shelter my family for at least another couple of years, at least until everything gets back to normal. And I have a feeling everything is going to get back to normal real soon, Your Honor. So please don't think of this as a handout. I'm not asking for a handout. I'm not asking for anything I can't pay back. I know you've heard me say that before, but this time I'm really going to pay you back for every last penny you've ever given me. I'm sorry if I'm repeating myself. But I have to try and remain optimistic about the future. I can't succumb to morbidity. I am not, by nature, a morose man. I am not, nor have I ever been, a Communist.
It would have been so much easier, the Judge thought, had his wife been diagnosed with something fatal instead of something that would linger. But instead there was only what was, and that there was no cure for what was. And so the atmosphere in his home had become oppressive. His wife had gone over the top, at least emotionally speaking. There was no one to comfort her. There was only the Judge, who had no idea what he was supposed to say. He wanted to feel bad, but he couldn't, not when his wife refused to remove the wart on the bridge of her nose. How could he possibly empathize with someone when he couldn't look at them? Is this, he thought, why the blind were so coldhearted and full of hate?
We Failed To Climb It
My son has vitiligo. That means his forehead is two different shades of white. When the dermatologist told me my son had vitiligo I had to pretend it was only a minor and temporary problem. I had to do this for my son. I don't want him to think that having vitiligo is the end of the world, even though I think it is. A grown man with vitiligo is never going to meet a woman or have a decent career or basically succeed at anything. The way I see it, having vitiligo is tantamount to being handed a death sentence. Someone really should put you out of your misery. Because it's all over for my son. But I can't let him know that. As far as he knows, there's a cure for vitiligo, he just can't take it until he's eighteen. That's what I told him because he's five years old, and really, what does a five year old know? I assume he'll figure it out eventually, but that's not really my concern right now considering that human civilization doesn't stand a chance. You would think that getting to the top of this mountain would change my point of view, but it hasn't, not in the least. Even if my son lives long enough to feel the effects of the vitiligo - intense loneliness, abject suffering - I don't know if having vitiligo will be among his chief concerns, especially when daily life will amount to nothing more than a non-stop barbaric battle between warring tribes, and not national tribes, or tribes delineated by religious persuasion, but local tribes, armed with machetes and homemade firearms. This is the world I believe my son will live in, and I don't believe he will have the strength or wit to survive in such a world, so why bother him with the details of his diseased skin? I say let him have a good time while he's young. So as soon as I get down from this mountain, the first thing I'm going to do is take my son to the train station. There is a train station downtown that my son absolutely adores. He enjoys climbing the trains. I make him wear gloves when he's out in public. I don't want the other children to look at him and say mean things. This is my greatest fear. That another child will say something hurtful to my son and scar him for life. I suppose that some people may say that what other children say and do to my son is beyond my control, but this is not a point I'm inclined to agree with. My job as a father is to protect my son from the rest of the world. Some may take offense at this type of anti-sentiment, and these are the same people I would politely ask to lick the bottom of my boot. When I am no longer here, and my son is just another adult who has been corrupted and befuddled by his own bad sense and misjudgment, that is when the world can step in do whatever it wants. Until then my son belongs to me. And my son loves to ride the train and make toot-toot sounds with his mottled mouth.
A Commitment He May Have Thought Would Supersede The Time He Could Devote To Industry
Henry Ford is alleged to have been in attendance at the execution of a death row inmate at the State Prison of Southern Michigan. "First," he reportedly said, "they tried to hang him. Then they tried to shoot him. Then they tried to electrocute him. Then they tried to gas him. And then, not knowing what else to do, they tried to decapitate him." Somehow the convict survived all attempts to end his life. "Is there any doubt," Ford reportedly said, "that this man is my hero?"
I Married Louise Brooks
People ask me what it was like to be married to Louise Brooks. I always tell them the same thing. Because this is all they need to know. The rest is between me and God. I tell them that Louise Brooks is a sweater. That no one sweats like Louise Brooks. It would be twenty minutes into the day and she would already be drenched in sweat. It didn't bother me. I liked it. I would drink her sweat. Collect it all in a towel and then wring it out into an eight ounce mug and chug it. Louise Brooks' sweat tasted like coconut milk.