Here's just what you need to make your day a joy: a collection of odds and ends I feel a need to get out of my mind and into yours. You're welcome.
My good friend, Chris, of Splits 'n Giggles, is running in the Orange County Marathon on May 5th. It will be his first marathon, ever. He has done amazing things with his body over the past year or so, dropping something like 100 pounds and otherwise making me feel like a lazy slug for losing two pounds in preparation for running out of breath on my first trip around the bases in my Sunday softball league.
In honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, Chris will be wearing a Boston Red Sox cap. The initials of the four people killed in connection with that hideousness were written onto the hat by Chris. This is no small thing for him. Chris is a lifelong proud New York Yankees fan. It truly is special for him to wear a Sox cap during his run and I thank him for the gesture. He has graciously offered to send the cap to me following his run. I'll do a follow-up when I receive it.
A few of you were kind enough to read through a long screed of mine some ten days ago. In it, I expressed a number of self doubts, made some scattershot comments concerning reasons to hate humanity, and otherwise opened up a vein to bleed all over this page. I had published it here, but pulled it down immediately when the Boston Globe asked to buy a piece of mine which was included as part of that screed. Everyone who read it and had something to say was wonderfully kind. Thank you for that.
One thing I meant to include in the screed, but didn't - since it was a screed written under some mental duress, I hadn't written an outline and forgot until it was too late - was a quote from Robert Paul Smith. Some of you may have no idea who Robert Paul Smith was. If so, go to the link. Or you can just go to the next paragraph here because I'm going to tell you a little about him.
Robert Paul Smith was a writer. Robert Paul Smith was a tremendous writer. As a matter of fact, I think Robert Paul Smith is my favorite writer of all time, aside from Mark Twain, and it's a damn shame he isn't more remembered.
(I'd like to give credit to the person who turned me on to Robert Paul Smith approximately two years ago, but I'm ashamed to say I'm not entirely sure who did me that favor. I think it was either Cricket or Craig. They're both prime candidates since they're well-read and eclectic, have both stopped blogging, and both have names beginning with C, which may not mean much to you but to me it represents a good reason for my confusing them. In any case, and whoever it was, I owe you one. A big one.)
If Robert Paul Smith had died before I was born, I might now be a believer in reincarnation. I might seriously have considered the possibility that I had been him in a past life. His style and choice of subject matter are about as close to my own as any writer I've yet encountered. As such, I find him irresistibly charming. And, since you seem to have an unnatural fondness for my scribblings, I have to assume you'd like him, too.
Anyway, here's the quote, and the reason I wanted to include it in my screed is because I find it particularly prescient concerning our current state of affairs:
We seem to be having a contest now that I never anticipated - a convulsive effort to make ourselves so loathsome that when we slip the trigger and exterminate ourselves we will have been morally right to do so.
That comes from a work entitled Crank. I have to believe the subtitle will send you on a dead sprint to your local library in search of it. Here it is: A Book of Lamentations, Exhortations, Mixed Memories and Desires, All Hard or Chewy Centers, No Creams. If you can't find it at the library, I'd suggest picking up a used copy somewhere. From my investigations (granted, none too exhaustive) it is apparently out of print. That fact alone tells me all I need to know about the sad state of the world. Then again, if my estimation is correct and I really do write like he did, then the gap left by his being gone leaves more room for me to be published, so there's that.
A couple of weeks ago, I asked you to name some comedy teams you enjoyed. I told you that I would say a few syllables (utter a few adjectives) concerning each. I've decided not to follow through on my promise (which is par for this course, but still no excuse for disappointing the 2 or 3 of you who, for reasons known only to yourself, expected better of me.)
I'll give you the bottom line. I like comedy teams. All of them. Any people who try to bring a few more laughs into the world are OK by me. I could have given you some specifics, i.e., the next time you watch Laurel & Hardy, pay attention to Oliver Hardy's hands. They are quite possibly the most graceful and balletic hands in the history of motion pictures, and probably the only hands that, by themselves and with no words or facial mannerisms, have ever reduced me to helpless gales of guffaws, so I guess that would have been worthwhile to say - and so I just did - but, at present, I don't feel like writing a few thousands words about most of the teams you mentioned. Sorry! Maybe later.
(I suppose there are one or two comedy teams I'm not particularly enamored of. Nixon & Agnew come to mind. Their plumbers sketch was far too derivative of Bagel Street for my taste. I do have to say, however, that few could top them for patter. Nattering Nabobs of Negativism was a classic.)
There is no Item 4. It is the Sanity Clause.
And with that, I bid you fondue.
Soon, with moe better stuff.