Saturday, June 16, 2007
An Insult And Compliment
Recently, someone called me an eloquent self-absorbed whiner. Of course, I don't know who this person is because he or she didn't give an identity, the wonders of the anonymous comment function on my blog, something I am loathe to give up given that most anonymous comments are kind or interesting. I don't mind this one because although I have been called self-absorbed and most certainly consider myself a whiner at times (who can take any of her complaints seriously in a world where the dead and wounded are coming home from war at an astounding, horrible rate?), I have never been called eloquent. Charming, sometimes, funny, every now and again, but eloquent?! Never! It's not in my nature. I'm too clumsy and high-strung for anything resembling elegance or eloquence to come my way. I can barely dress myself without some huge mistake, can't speak without stumbling over my words, and would prefer to hide at home than face the slings and arrows of something as prosaic as grocery shopping. I consider some of this genetic -- take my dad, the nicest man in the world, but a little clumsy at times. Once he was driving along with my friend Hank and pointed out a big plane. Hank said that he couldn't see it. Hank, my dad said, slapping him on the back, you must be blind as a bat! Hank, I might point out, was legally blind and starting laughing hysterically. The only time Hank saw something in the car was when I nearly backed into someone. Even I saw that one, Michelle, he said. Not really shaken by much, he was the perfect passenger for someone with my truly vile driving skills.
Erica Jong writes that as people we get a thousand love letters or compliments and remember the few horrible notes from crazy people about how terrible we are. There's a lot of truth to this statement. In her book, Seducing the Demon, she talks about having a one night stand with Martha Stewart's husband and getting maligned for this act for years. During the one night stand, the husband talked incessantly about Martha and what she made him do, all the chores and the misery. This is what a lot of adultery is like I imagine, the kind of thing where the other person looms so large that he or she might as well be in the room. Erica did not have much fun during or after, when she was cast into the role of evil other woman. It's a role I'm sure she'd been cast in before with or without cause, an insult and compliment all rolled together. She got screwed twice, but in the end, she wrote about that awful night at the Frankfurt Book Fair and got the last say. Eloquence can give a person the final word, I think, even for the self-absorbed, maybe especially for us.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The lion and the calf shall lie down together but the calf won't get much sleep." Woody Allen
Drinking movie suggestion: How To Save Your Own Life Erica Jong
Benedictions and Maledictions