Thursday, January 10, 2008


The other day I picked up a book at the library the other day, Horseradish by Lemony Snickett.

I'm not a fan of his 'Series of Unfortunate Events' books, but this slim volume of anecdotes and quotations--each one laced with wry humor--did not fail to satisfy me. I have dogeared the pages of my favorite quotes, showed one of them to my friends and they all managed to read the entire book in one fell gulp. Snicket's advice is poignant, bitterly funny and very very true in every sense of the word. Even the back of his book states:

'Life is a turbulent journey, fraught with confusion heartbreak and inconvenience. This book will not help.'

Not entirely true. With each quote, a singular memory of my life comes to mind, and the lesson I learned is parallel with Snicket's advice. And it reminds me that I'm not completely hopeless and insane in my line of thinking.

'Perhaps if we saw what was ahead of us, and glimpsed the crimes, follies and misfortunes that would befall us later on, we would all stay in our mother's wombs, and then there would be nobody in the world but a great number of very fat, very irritated women.'

This is one reason I've decided against bearing children. Why in God's name would I bring a child into all the suffering in this world? I had a great childhood, but as an adult....pfft. Adulthood is all about screwing up and horrible misfortunes, it's the single, tiny moments in which everything finally goes right that makes life minimally bearable.

'Business cards, of course, are not proof of anything. Anyone can go to a print shop and have cards made that say anything they like. The king of Denmark can order business cards that say he sells golf balls. Your dentist can order business cards that say she is your grandmother. In order to escape from the castle of an enemy of mine, I once had cards printed that said I was an admiral in the French navy. Just because something is typed--whether it is typed on a business card or typed in a newspaper or book--this does not mean it is true.'

I think the moral of this is clear: question authority. Just because someone is your manager does not always make him right. Just because someone is your president, does not make him the most qualified person (hellooooooo George Bush). Just because it is written in the newspaper does not make it the most reliable and most honest account. Always always always question what is set before you.

"Love can change a person
the way a parent
change a baby--
awkwardly, and often

with a great deal of mess."

how very very violently true. What I think of in the past five years is how love has changed me. Romantic love, platonic love, and love of people in general. I think of the first boy I loved, and then the man with whom I spent two and a half turbulent years full of wild love and constant tribulations. I think of that beautiful Mexican boy whom I couldn't understand--except for the language of his skin and kiss. I think of all the boys in between, and how they sapped out of me, true emotion that I could have saved for another. I think of the blind trust I put in someone who never returned it. I think of the beautiful blonde haired boy that does a frenetic little dance in and out of my life: so full of love for me--but ruled by his indecisiveness and other obligations. I think of all the plays of human psychology and how the minds of all my lovers worked. I think about how I left each one different-- for better or for worse. It is never the failure or the pain I remember, but rather the sweet rapturous moments that have altered me forever. And there is no power on earth that can change it.

I think of all of my friends past and present. I remember the ones I haven't spoken to in years, and how I would still drop anything and take them under my arm with just one phone call, text message, myspace email, anything. I think of all the resilient bonds that I have created over the years. I think of the best friend I have now, and how our lives are consistently parallel but rarely cross paths--yet how innately connected I feel to her. I think of the long haired girl that was so different from me--so far detached even when she was close and yet I would go to the ends of the earth to soothe her pains. I think of the curly haired Jewish girl I met in North Carolina and how I haven't been in the same state as her for coming three years now, but yet her laugh, wit and intellect is fresh in my mind as daylight. Those kindred threads of friendship have stretched throughout my life-tiny spiderwebs that can be easily torn, or kept whole with careful mending.

But what's worse is the bad blood. The friends I have lost due to my mistakes or theirs. I hold no regrets, except that my love was wasted on them. But it still changed me. Changed me for the better, the stronger, never the worse. To quote Adam Sandler's brilliant character from 'Punch Drunk Love': 'The love I have makes me stronger than you can ever imagine.'

'Fate is like a strange,
unpopular restaurant,
filled with odd waiters who
bring you things you never
asked for and don't always like.'

That's life in a nutshell. Quite possibly the best allegory concerning the unpleasantness of life that I've ever heard. When you get lemons, you better pelt those damn lemons at someone else who's caused you shit, THEN make lemonade.

Now for the best quote of the book.

"If an optimist had his left arm chewed off by an alligator, he might say, in a pleasant and hopeful voice, "Well this isn't too bad. I don't have my left arm anymore, but at least nobody will ever ask me whether I am right handed or left handed," but most of us would say something more along the lines of 'AHHHH! My arm! My arm!"

the moral? Sometimes it's okay to throw a fit about something. Especially if it's about your chewed off arm. People who are constantly cheerful are most likely hiding something. They are the ones who end up blowing up the elementary school or killing the mailman. It's true, I promise. At least with angry people, you know what's coming.

Next blog: focused consumerism.

Till then

--Le Violent Femme

1 comment:

Micro said...

I enjoyed reading your blog :) And I might just buy that book! You don't know me, but wtf...hugs!