Monday, March 17, 2008

Fragments of uncertain origin and the benefit of vomiting, or, Be careful what you drink!

On the L this morning on my way to the office, I was dreading the pile of work that was sure to greet me following Friday's day off. But as I read Alvaro Mutis's The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll (1992), suddenly my plight didn't seem so bad: Maqroll, on a boat heading into the deepest jungle, has nothing to drink but
a cup of something that passes for coffee but is really a watery slop of indefinable taste, with pieces of unrefined sugar that leave a worrisome sediment of insect wings, plant residues, and fragments of uncertain origin at the bottom of the cup.
No matter how overwhelming my inboxes were sure to be, at least I knew I could count on a good, strong, insect-free cup of coffee to see me through.

Coffee in the morning and a martini in the evening. Not a bad routine--though if John Aubrey is to be believed (and why would one ever choose to live in a sad, colorless world in which Aubrey is not to be believed?), not one that Thomas Hobbes would endorse:
He was, even in his youth, (generally) temperate, both as to wine and women. I have heard him say that he did believe he had been in excess in his life, a hundred times; which, considering his great age, did not amount to above once a year: when he did drink, he would drink to excess to have the benefit of vomiting, which he did easily; by which benefit neither his wit was disturbed (longer than he was spewing) nor his stomach oppressed; but he never was, nor could not endure to be, habitually a good fellow, i.e. to drink every day wine with company, which, though not to drunkenness, spoils the brain.
Remind me not to invite Hobbes to my next philosophers' drinking party.

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