Aspects of A Novel Idler

E.B. White wrote: “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.”

As a self-addled idler, I say screw the former part of that personal conundrum and let’s fall helplessly into the enjoy part. Mixing hedonistic pastimes with little bursts of languid philosophy, I like to take a lazy swipe at the idea that so much thinking is now done for us that it’s damn time we indulged in all kinds of idleness until we are all over Descartes “I think therefore I am.”

The 17th century, metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell wrote: “But at my back I always hear/ Time’s winged chariot hurrying near.”

What dominates the wholesome vista is a sense that everything we do must be productive, should be moving toward a sane and balanced end. The idea that you would do something just for the momentary blissful escape of it, for intensity, for feelings and sensations, is so out of fashion, it’s like spitting on Oscar Wilde’s grave!

Each hour has to be like the next hour. Every day has to be exactly the same. When that whistle blows (not at five anymore, darling, think more 5:15),  you have to be there. “Time discipline” is what they called it in the nineteenth century. Why is it that I feel like I no longer have control over what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it?  Everybody, it seems (including me) is fighting to get back control of their time. And that’s a fight worth fighting for!

I’ll end on a more positive thought: Sex is really a religious predicament; a faith in the eternal erection.


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