Unkind attention

By David Grima | Jan 11, 2018

It is normally considered poor taste to mock somebody who is so obviously suffering, however in this case it involves a person who is long dead and was more or less successful in his lifetime. Here goes, then.

I recently reread a novel by the English author Evelyn Waugh who, despite all appearances created by the name, was a gentleman. Among other things, he wrote the novel “Brideshead Revisited,” which several of you might have seen produced on TV, once upon a time and long ago.

Curious to learn more about Mr. Waugh, I consulted my friends at Wikipedia, who mentioned that he was once married to a lady also called Evelyn.

Apparently their friends called them He-Evelyn and She-Evelyn.

But he had a rough start as an author, and the following paragraph rather caught my attention as being both deeply tragic and quite funny:

“In the summer of 1925, Waugh’s outlook briefly improved, with the prospect of a job in Pisa, Italy, as secretary to the Scottish writer Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff, who was engaged on the English translations of Marcel Proust’s works. Believing that the job was his, Waugh resigned his position at Arnold House. He had meantime sent the early chapters of his novel to Acton for assessment and criticism. Acton’s reply was so coolly dismissive that Waugh immediately burnt his manuscript; shortly afterwards, before he left North Wales, he learned that the Moncrieff job had fallen through. The twin blows were sufficient for him to consider suicide. He records that he went down to a nearby beach and, leaving a note with his clothes, walked out to sea. An attack by jellyfish changed his mind, and he returned quickly to the shore.”

* * * * *

Speaking of deeply tragic things, a few weeks ago I mentioned that my dear friend Lord Prez Trumpleton had not visited me for some time, but he has been feeling particularly unappreciated this past week and so he showed up in the Presidential Hang Glider last weekend, complaining bitterly about this new book that has been written about him.

The media has had some easy fun lately, portraying him as a raving lunatic who is unable to read, write, or do sums involving more than one number, which they have done simply by reading random passages from the book over the air.

The old fellow is very upset by all of this unkind attention, I assure you.

To be honest, there is nothing in the book he has not already talked about to me, and which I have not already shared with both faithful readers over the past year.

For example, the idea that he never actually wanted to be elected president is not news to anyone who has read my nonsense fairly regularly. As I have said, he only ran for election to give the other candidates a run for their money and give his own market profile a bit of a boost. He confidently expected to lose, and live a life of increased notoriety, while continuing to rake in the dough as a private citizen.

You will perhaps recall that his first response to actually winning was to call for an investigation into voter fraud.

The jug-headed media insisted this was because he believed his margin of victory was too small for his super-sized ego, whereas the truth is that he was hoping a decent investigation would overturn the result and free him from the tedious obligation of being president.

The bitterest charge in this ridiculous book is that he is an unstable kind of guy, but as he pointed out to me over a bottle of water in the South End the other day, he is really the most stable genius America has seen since Mr. Ed.

* * * * *

Couldn’t quite believe my eyes while driving through Augusta New Year’s Day, when I passed a farm truck that was having a hard time getting up the hill toward Eastern Avenue.

Sticking out of the top of the truck were any number of what looked remarkably like pigs' trotters. The truck was full of deceased porkers, for goodness’ sake!

* * * * *

The proposed Boston-Rockland train schedule looks like being little use to anyone who lives here.

To begin with, it sounds like the train will run weekends only, leaving Rockland in mid-afternoon to arrive in Boston almost six hours later at 9:25 p.m. both days. Fat lot of good that will be.

* * * * *

I see the city library is once again open on Sunday afternoons. This is a triumph for democracy, and clearly Lord Trumpleton should be thanked by a grateful people for making this great benefit possible.

* * * * *

Recent weather has been desperately cold, especially for a poor chap huddling in a cardboard box in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live.

Why, the other day I looked up and saw, not 12 feet up in the air above my head, two of the Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse frozen quite solid and motionless in the bitterly blue sky. They had been trying to make emergency landings in the north towers, but the cold got to them first and they simply went rigid in the air.

It took three days before I could get a fire of twigs and old newspapers lit beneath them and thaw them out enough so they could actually land.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Dale Hayward | Jan 14, 2018 00:47

Those Pigs going to market, I mean vote at the State House. Did you notice the one driving the truck was non other than our Chief Porker?



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jan 11, 2018 16:01

I thought you could never outlandishly top yourself, but I stand corrected!



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