Feeling good was easy, Lord
In The Varieties of Religious Experience James quotes the following passage from the life of Theodore Parker, a person about whom I know very little: “I have swum in clear sweet waters all my days; and if sometimes they were a little cold, and the stream ran adverse and something rough, it was never too strong to be breasted and swum through. I am filled with a sense of sweetness and wonder that such little things can make a mortal so exceedingly rich.” That is precisely how I feel now, right down to the vision of a stream running cold and fresh, inside of things as it were, and covered by them as by a husk. For example, I woke up today magnificently hungover. I looked absolutely terrible — not exactly shaven, my face swollen up, my mouth all desert-like. Now, your average motorist, under these conditions, will take a bunch of Advil and eat small amounts of food in bed. Then they will nap. This only angers the hangover and inspires its contempt. The absolutely crucial step is rolling out of bed, eating a tiny meal of juice and cottage cheese, and then gunning the Volvo for Costa Mesa. It’s okay if, when walking to the Volvo, you are sort of dragging your knuckles on the ground like a gorilla. I got there, wolfed down two half pound burritos from Of The Taco (English trans. mine), and watched the tired people eating like seagulls. Fats Domino is playing through the headphones: “I’m ready, I’m willing and I’m able to rock and roll all night.” Then I swung over to the coffeehouse and had espresso, moving like a human being, feeling less rusted. Fats Domino runs out, so Gram Parsons. The espresso tastes like smoke from a caramel fire. I’m thinking about my friends. One of them absolutely killed doing House of Pain, after first telling me he didn’t like his voice. I got to do perhaps the only dance I truly understand, The Human Pogo Stick. Another one got knocked down by U2, had a lager drink, and got up again to channel David Byrne with eerie power. Even the kids from Dutch Missionary Records were there. Of course this is all digital-camera-gee-whiz-my-life-is-a-cabaret stuff, but how ’bout this, smart guy, why don’t you go to a bar where cute poets are singing “Closer to Fine” in the style of the Dixie Chicks, and they’re actually doing the polyphonic harmonies, with a head full of J. Hillis Miller on Pynchon’s intertexts, drinking Long Islands, and tell me there’s nothing to celebrate?