Friday, March 6, 2015

I Sometimes Do A Sort Of Reverse Walter Mitty

That is to say, instead of imagining feats of great boldness like the timid Walter Mitty does, I daydream about how my life might have turned out if I had been much less bold and much more sensible: talked back less to teachers and professors and bosses, for example, or become an accountant, or consumed much, much less alcohol and recreational drugs, or just in general not been so incredibly stupid so very often.

Once in an interview Jack Nicholson said: "I want everything to be exactly the way it is." I think that's wise. Because everything is exactly the way it is. And how better to be able to cope with everything than to eagerly embrace its reality? Maybe it's not wise, but... insubstantial to the point of nothingness. Or perhaps it's simultaneously both. Maybe it's the sort of point those Zen guys are trying to make. You may ask, But how can you make yourself want anything other than what you actually do want?

And at this point, generally, I want to just get away from the Zen guru and get on with my life. Am I rejecting his wisdom, or enacting it quite well?

I don't know, but it does seem that I still barge ahead recklessly in some ways. Several times on this blog I've quoted bob Dylan to the effect that "I try my best to be just like I am." Everything: that includes me, of course, and wanting everything to be exactly the way it is... Hm. Hopelfully I barge more effectively in some ways than decades ago. I don't get drunk all the time any more. I haven't had a drop of booze in 2015. And I don't miss it. I'm barging recklessly onward into the Anonymi Gesta Francorum et aliorum Hierosolymitanorum at the moment. Recklessly attempting to more accurately memorize the chronology and picture the topology of the first Crusade. Okay, I guess I have calmed down a bit in some ways. Hagenmeyer's edition

contains maybe 5 words of apparatus for every word of text, and in the past I've verbally abused critical editions which seem to entirely lose track of the text about which all of the fuss supposedly is -- but Hagenmeyer's introduction and footnotes and indices are actually not completely useless. (They're in German except for long citations from various Latin works, so get multilingual already and get with the program.)

As you can see, I'm still not an accountant, and no, I don't currently have a university job or a fellowship, I haven't had either in 23 years. Still hopelessly reckless and impractical, from some people's point of view. But you see, I'm trying to be just like I am, and to convince you that that's a very good thing. Nobody else is going to do it, nobody else in the whole wide world ever could. Is it reckless? Or is it the only thing I possibly can do?

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