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rambling bad news etc.


If I were to live my life
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers
at the bottom of a pond
and you were to come by
   one evening
when the moon was shining
down into my dark home
and stand there at the edge
   of my affection
and think, "It's beautiful
here by this pond. I wish
   somebody loved me,"
I'd love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be
   at peace,
and ask yourself, "I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them."


Richard Brautigan, 1968 (The Pill Versus the Springhill Mine Disaster)


This morning we drove over to Brian's parents' house. He and Victoria took one car and I drove the truck. The plan was to haul away one sofa and bring a bed down to the family room so that his dad wouldn't have to deal with stairs for a while. Like all of my other plans this weekend, this one didn't work. He is a stubborn old guy and he doesn't want his house rearranged just because he's recovering from back surgery while taking chemo. Oh fine.

Mr. Stavish is a wonder of sorts. He is unfailingly kind. Brian says he can rant with the best of them, but I have only seen his patient, grandfatherly side. He worked as a clerk for the Department of Agriculture for the shortest possible time and retired before his youngest kids had cleared elementary school. He sent six kids to Catholic school for as long as they would have them. He is not meddlesome in the least, but if you want advice he is happy to share. A lot of his tips involve re-using milk cartons and soda bottles in your home and garden. He's a good cook. Prosaic, yes. Admirable, hell yes. Exciting, not so much.

So I had the memory of my visit with the in-laws tempering my reaction when I learned that the good doctor killed himself. Talk about pedestrian: all I could come up with was, "Oh no. Crap. Oh no." That's about where I am right now. I shouldn't even care. So he wrote like a crazy angel, that's all here to stay. He doesn't owe me a thing. I feel bad for his family, in a detached that's-gotta-suck way. But I can't really miss a person I never met. Hemingway and Plath were gone before I was born and it has never mattered one bit. So I can't explain the hollow feeling I have, it must be some dopey romantical affectation. I'm sure I will get over it and return to appreciating a fine writer. Period.

Of course, I am kicking myself for selling a FE Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail a few months ago. Death is always good for a price bump. I did manage to unload all my Reagan inventory last year. That's a better subject for crass profit anyway.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
lavidamd
Feb. 22nd, 2005 02:55 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing the catfish poem. My grandparents lived in a place with a lot of catfish ponds. Catfish were (and still are, I suppose) almost revered. Of course, that didn't stop folks from wanting to catch the biggest, oldest, most ornery ones. Strange.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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