L'esprit de l'escalier

It's all about the timing.

Location: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

I'd rather be somewhere else most of the time and I'm a huge practitioner of staircase wit.


One of my favorite author's quoted from one of my favorite books

Here's a poem from the Spoon River Anthology, from Cat's Cradle.

I was the first fruits of the battle of Missionary Ridge.
When I felt the bullet enter my heart
I wished I had staid at home and gone to jail
For stealing the hogs of Curl Trenary,
Instead of running away and joining the army.
Rather a thousand times the county jail
Than to lie under this marble figure with wings,
And this granite pedestal
Bearing the words, "Pro Patria."
What do they mean, anyway?

-Edgar Lee Masters

Spoon River Anthology is full of poems in the point of view of the deceased. Masters went through this small town, turn of the century, cemetary and wrote down names, epitaphs and filled in the blanks with some of the most potent poems I've ever read.

I mean, just look at this one. The first line gives me chills, whoever this person is has declared himself from the get-go a reluctant warrior. Regretting the decision that got himself killed. He didn't want to die. Why would he? Who does? Jail would've been better than death.

Today so many young people join the military to get out of bad living conditions at home, but is death really better than poverty? I don't know, maybe, but not to this guy. You can get out of poverty, you can't come back from the dead. It's just not worth it. No matter how valient "they" try to make it sound, no matter what we say and how we congratulate them, they're still dead. Not everyone gets to take the credit for a good fight.

It's bullshit.


Break time w/the Discovery Channel

Did you know there's a toad what grows it's tadpoles in it's own skin? So, when the little froggies are born, they're fully formed frogs and they just come bustin' outta the mommies pores. Front legs first. Gross, no?

Also, there's a fish that lays eggs on low-hanging leaves over the water, and the eggs have to be splashed once every single minute until they're ready to hatch. And the daddy does the splashing. That's a seriously busy daddy fish, no?


I fucking love Kurt Vonnegut

[So, I will share a little piece of him with you...]

I went out onto the giddy terrace that straddled the waterfall and found little Newt asleep in a yellow butterfly chair.

The painting on which Newt had been working was set on an easel next to the aluminum railing. The painting was framed in a misty view of sky, sea, and valley.

Newt's painting was small and black and warty.

It consisted of scratches made in a black, gummy impasto. The scratches formed a sort of spider's web, and I wondered if they might not be the sticky nets of human futility hung up on a moonless night to dry.

I did not wake up the midget who had made this dreadful thing. I smoked, listening to imagined voices in the water sounds.

What awakened little Newt was an explosion far away below. It caromed up the valley and went to God. It was a cannon on the water front of Bolivar, Frank's major-domo told me. It was fired every day at five.

Little Newt stirred.

While still half-snoozing, he put his black, painty hands to his mouth and chin, leaving black smears there. He rubbed his eyes and made black smears around them, too.

"Hello," he said to me, sleepily.

"Hello," I said. "I like your painting."

"You see what it is?"

"I suppose it means something different to everyone who sees it."

"It's a cat's cradle."

"Aha," I said. "Very good. The scratches are string. Right?"

"One of the oldest games there is, cat's cradle. Even the Eskimos know it."

"You don't say."

"For maybe a hundred thousand years or more, grownups have been waving tangles of string in their children's faces."


Newt remained curled in the chair. He held out his painty hands as though a cat's cradle were strung between them. "No wonder kids grow up crazy. A cat's cradle is nothing but a bunch of X's between somebody's hands, and little kids look and look and look at all those X's..."


"No damn cat, and no damn cradle."

[I wonder if he would've used the term Inuit, today.]

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