Archives for June 2007
Me: I would do anything to please you – except, you know, work.
The Wife: It brings me great pleasure when you work.
Me: Why does it have to be work? Why can’t it be my creative dreams?
The Wife: I’m very practical.
Me: What was I thinking? Why did I propose to someone who I was going to be forever disappointing? On the other hand, it makes sense that I proposed to someone who was going to make sure I get fed, since I couldn’t be counted on to do that for myself.
The Wife: You don’t forever disappoint me.
Me: No, not forever. Just regularly.
The Wife: Besides, isn’t that the usual dynamic? Women wanting…
Me: Husbands failing to give?
The Wife: Yeah. Isn’t that how it usually goes?
From Joseph Mitchell’s famous profile of Old Mr. Flood:
“Here a while back I heard a preacher talking on the radio about the peacefulness of the old, and I thought to myself, ‘You ignorant man!’ I’m ninety-four years old and I never yet had any peace, to speak of. My mind is just a turmoil of regrets. It’s not what I did that I regret; it’s what I didn’t do. Except for the bottle, I always walked the straight and narrow; a family man, a good provider, never cut up, never did ugly, and I regret it. In the summer of 1902 I came real close to getting in serious trouble with a married woman, but I had a fight with my conscience and my conscience won, and what’s the result? I had two wives, good Christian women, and I can’t hardly remember what either of them looked like, but I can remember the face on that woman so clear it hurts, and there’s never a day passes I don’t think about her, and there’s never a day passes I don’t curse myself. ‘What kind of a timid, dried-up, weevily fellow were you?’ I say to myself. ‘You should’ve said to hell with what’s right and what’s wrong, the devil take the hindmost. You’d have something to remember, you’d be happier now.’ She’s out in Woodlawn, six feet under, and she’s been there twenty-two years, God rest her, and here I am, just an old, old man with nothing left but a belly and a brain and a dollar or two.”
There’s often a special genius in that first, tossed-off attempt at things – the casual sketch, the first run-through of a song or poem. Not to say that things should end there, but often, a certain something gets lost in the polishing that follows. It’s why artists’ sketchbooks are so much fun. And then, sometimes, you get a little piece of fabulousness like this, something that is necessarily casual and impermanent and whimsical, and also really kind of wonderful: