Thursday, August 27, 2009

Never but when he is drunk

Worm casts about for Eden here. Poor humans: the fleeting glimpse, caught but rarely between hope and nostalgia, find the river, Ratty and Moley are bobbing about on it somewhere, me my thoughts are flower-strewn, ocean storm, bayberry moon.

Tell me, is there a more luscious heartbreaker in which to wallow, sipping a third glass of red as dusk descends, than the closing song of REM’s multi-nineties mega-hitsmash record Automatic for the People? Maybe Sinatra’s version of Cycles, or No Easy Way Down from Dusty in Memphis.

You can get a really good dose of Wabi Sabi from any of those, much better than Zen, which is bad for the knees. The booze is critical though, otherwise you’re always thinking: “I’m enjoying this song, but consciously, and every second of that enjoyment brings me closer to its termination, and I will only hear it a finite number of times before I pop my clogs or lose my wits or both.” This is why we must produce offspring.

And here we can once again turn to the sharp, bleak wisdom of Samuel Johnson, as related by the faithful Boswell:

He this day enlarged upon Pope's melancholy remark, "Man never is, but always to be blest."

He asserted that the present was never a happy state to any human being; but that, as every part of life, of which we are conscious, was at some point of time a period yet to come, in which felicity was expected, there was some happiness produced by hope. Being pressed upon this subject, and asked if he really was of opinion that though, in general, happiness was very rare in human life, a man was not sometimes happy in the moment that was present, he answered, "Never, but when he is drunk."

10 comments:

worm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
worm said...

fantastic reading!

although I think Johnson was perhaps a trifle pessimistic - I'm frequently happy, in fact it is my default setting

Brit said...

Then that is your superpower, Worm. Use it only for good.

Nige said...

Ah Johnson is so right - tho I've had my moments sober among the butterflies...

ghostofelberry said...

Oddly enough i'm drunk right now (Tullamore Dew).

i try not to think about the future, except for practical stuff (buying plane tickets in advance etc.); it's too uncertain.

i find that having a grip on the past in some way deepens the present; if the past has equal standing with the present, has equal authority, and is relevant to the present, you exist doubly. The past & present comment on, amplify & complicate, each other. It's one way of being not wholly within time; or at least, not just within one time frame.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Nice, yes. But Pope seems to have a healthier attitude to booze than to Literature - editing down Shakespeare and Homer in heroic couplets, indeed - if only he'd stayed more drunk.

malty said...

The now, with the blessing or curse of the passing years is mainly spent pondering the was and might be, bee double o zee e failing in its primary objective, coating the present with treacle, the high mileage constitution rejecting any attempt to dull.

What's it like being dead elberry? met Lloyd George yet, was he on his horse?

Brit said...

One can be drunk on things beside booze, mind.

worm said...

like lighter fluid?

Brit said...

No wonder your default mode is Happy.