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Again, sick, argh

The author is in good spirits but is also a frog.

I am quite sick. My eyes are shot through with blood and my glands are so swollen they pulse with my heartbeat. This makes me seem like a a giant man-frog. I take my pills and avoid the mirror. I expect to survive.

I am spending most of my time trying not to swallow, just like during my prison sentence. To distract myself, I've listed the units of measure expressed in different proverbs and sayings. So far I have:

I would like to create an exchange-rates table; for instance, a handheld bird is clearly worth at least 1000 rat's asses, and hatched chickens probably have some economic relationship to baskets filled with eggs. During the coming recession and the inevitable downfall of civilization after nuclear war with China, we may need to go over to a proverb-based economy. It would be based on at least as much reality as the one we have now.

Because I am too tired to write anything worthwhile (c.f., this), for either myself or my clients, I am making my illness as literary as possible so that I might get good material from it later. I've put on a tight cotton dress and repose in a large Victorian boudoir on our country estate, attended by a doting nursemaid, a black-wearing doctor who lets my blood and leeches my arms, and two nervous suitors, one a poor but honest gentleman, the other a Lord of brutish good looks and profligate tendencies.

I've also been reading the Letters of E.B. White, and, while I thought I might have serious things to say about it and White's writing and his work's significance in the larger cultural sphere of postwar America, I am going to stop my fooling. I want to quote these bits:

On submitting his notes and papers to the archive at, I think, Cornell:

Katharine hasn't committed herself as to her willingness to send along my letters to her, and I am not bringing any pressure to bear on her. For her last birthday I gave her a poem in thirteen cantos, called “Urine Specimen Days--A Backward Glance O'er Rumpled Beds,” which is a chronicle of her many hospitalizations. So you can see your chances of receiving anything for her are not good. I'm proud of the title, just the same.

and this from page 537:


To Joseph T. Wearn
Gainesville, Fla.
7 December 1965
Dear Joe,

I make a practice of swiping one sheet of stationery from every first rate hotel where I stop, like Caste Hill, and this gives tone to my correspondence.

I am writing simply to report a development of the story you told me about the boy who told his schoolmaster that alligators ate herons, pigs, small dogs, and beer bottles. While drifting south this morning on Route 17, trending towards Brunswick, I regaled my wife with this yarn, hoping to relieve the tedium of mid-morning on a national highway. She listened attentively and made no comment. About five minutes later she said, “I wonder how an alligator eliminates a beer bottle.” “That's simple,” I replied. “He schlitz.”

I did not get a very strong response to this witticism, and we knocked off another couple of miles in silence. Then I asked Katharine, “Do you know how an alligator feels after he has passed a beer bottle?” She said, no, she didn't know. “He feels sadder budweiser,” I said.

The response was still rather weak and silence fell upon us again. A few minutes later, my wife broke the awful stillness. “Pabst he does, and pabst he doesn't.”

It seemed necessary to tell you about this, without trying to tell you of our enjoyment of your stay with you, which will come later, if nothing happens to interrupt our southing.


YRS,
Andy

I make a practice of swiping one sheet of stationery from every first rate hotel where I stop, like Caste Hill, and this gives tone to my correspondence.

I am writing simply to report a development of the story you told me about the boy who told his schoolmaster that alligators ate herons, pigs, small dogs, and beer bottles. While drifting south this morning on Route 17, trending towards Brunswick, I regaled my wife with this yarn, hoping to relieve the tedium of mid-morning on a national highway. She listened attentively and made no comment. About five minutes later she said, “I wonder how an alligator eliminates a beer bottle.” “That's simple,” I replied. “He schlitz.”

I did not get a very strong response to this witticism, and we knocked off another couple of miles in silence. Then I asked Katharine, “Do you know how an alligator feels after he has passed a beer bottle?” She said, no, she didn't know. “He feels sadder budweiser,” I said.

The response was still rather weak and silence fell upon us again. A few minutes later, my wife broke the awful stillness. “Pabst he does, and pabst he doesn't.”

It seemed necessary to tell you about this, without trying to tell you of our enjoyment of your stay with you, which will come later, if nothing happens to interrupt our southing.


YRS,
Andy


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