Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I am filled with strange obsessions. I follow them through and they lead me to where I've been before. I'm told it is neurosis. It feels neurotic, it must be. I must widen my tastes for pleasures and rediscover the simple ones. It is not that I am reluctant to do so. In the past year I have discovered new joys, which is even better than pleasure, they say… joy.

Yesterday was my birthday, again. We celebrated the day before. I was not in the room when they sang me "happy birthday." I hadn't known they would. I wish they hadn't. It is just that after 42 birthdays I feel stupid standing in a bar having a song sung to me, though of course it is a sweet thing that they do this. It is done from love, but it makes me feel silly.

My wife and I celebrated my birthday yesterday by lying in bed and watching a couple of my favorite comedies and ordering food. I had two beers and a salad and a medium-rare steak. Afterwards I had ice cream, two different pints, though I only finished one of them. Two would have been overdoing it.

I finished half of the second this morning on an empty stomach. It is the inertia of certain things that must be fought, they say. There is no joy in repetition, others say. One must always be on guard against the carrying out of empty ritual. Though it is not always easy to see when one's rituals have become empty. They always seem to hold some charm, some special meaning for the initiate, for the believer, in the moment of belief. They must seem senseless and strange to the outsider. But rarely does anyone ever want to compare rituals, to be forced to examine the emptiness and strangeness of their own. They will fight to keep them sacred.

Overdoing it. That is what they've called it. Overdoing it with ice cream.

"Ride this train up and down and across a strange and wonderful land."
- Johnny Cash, "Ride this Train"