Climbing Mount Fuji Quite Quickly Actually

September 20, 2007

Sitting in my arbor by the wayside, smoking my hookah of contentment and eating the sweet lotus-leaves of indolence, I can look out musingly upon the whirling throng that rolls and tumbles past me on the high-road of life.

Jerome K. Jerome

It's interesting to turn on the TV set every now and then.

William S. Burroughs

PERSIFLAGE is updated on Thursdays.


I have two tickets available for Sunday night's UFCW title fight. Want to see Hanley and Evangelista go head to head in no holds barred action? Make me an offer or make like Jimmy Hoffa. Box 73.
For rent: one Wednesday, partly cloudy, High of 18, early fallish, not much on TV during the day but An American in Paris on in the evening. Contact us for rates. Box 444.
Anyone knowing the whereabouts of my sense of rhythm please contact me immediately as I have a gig playing the bongos in the Vatican next month. Box 61.

Tips for Autumnal Living:

Tip #1:  Coloured leaves make fall seem festive. Use an oil-based primer.



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Where Peace and Rest Can Never Dwell

It is an unpleasant thing to have to work for a living and don't let anyone tell you different. The human animal was not meant for it. If we were, wouldn't we like it a whole lot better?

In the closing days of summer, most sane people want to sit in a lawn chair and watch the sun set over a lake, regardless of the time of day. Does this sound like something they'd let you do at work? No, they'd be all "Whose lake is this?" and "You'll never clear up the Johnson account in this poor light!"

Work and the relaxed enjoyment of life simply do not go together but unfortunately the one (work) seems necessary in order to provide the means (money) for the other (enjoyment).

But what can be done about it? Well there is the stratagem of being born wealthy but that requires a level of foresight and pre-planning of which most of us are not capable. That requires the special genius of a Hilton or Rockefeller.

Freeloading is an option but you must convince some other person to foot the bill for your foolishness and this is not always easy. It helps if you are considered attractive in some way. You need not be classically handsome or beautiful. Consider Sandra Bernhard: she probably has no trouble convincing people to buy her drinks and she looks quite a bit like an emu. But attractiveness is a tricky business and oft-times it cannot be explained even by those it most deeply affects. I, for instance, feel a sudden urge to buy Sandra Bernhard a drink. (But perhaps that is merely to make up for the fact that I recently compared her to a large flightless bird).

Assuming that you are not an attractive person in any way (probably a fairly safe assumption), what should you do to avoid work? A life of crime seems like an attractive option at first blush but the big lie about crime, aside from the ridiculous assertion that it doesn't pay (hah!) is that it isn't work. The sad truth is that most successful criminals work fairly hard at their chosen profession. It's a different kind of drudgery but drudgery none the less. Plus a lot of the work is carried on at night when it's really better to be at home in bed. A life of crime is no crepuscular walk on the beach.

This essay hasn't proved very helpful so far has it? We have eliminated a number of ways to avoid work: privileged birth, riding on one's looks and a life of crime, but what are we left with? I'll tell you what we are left with. We are left with making do.

Making do is the least appealing strategy for avoiding work as it involves a lot of sacrifice on your part. One can enjoy a kind of a life of leisure if one is only willing to forgo certain luxuries like regular meals and a comfortable place to sleep. These crazy things cost money and money means work! By scraping by on table scraps (hence the term "scraping" - an interesting sidenote for you budding etymologists), by walking instead of riding, flying or being carried (by servants), by living in a cardboard edifice or under a porch, in short, by not buying, you can safely avoid working regularly.

Of course the pangs of hunger and the discomfiture of your constantly sodden and foul-smelling clothes will mean that from time to time you will have to do something. You may have to unload a boxcar (either during the day as a day labourer, if you choose legitimate work, or late at night if you opt for the criminal path). This will serve to bring your ends at least within shouting distance of one another even if they never actually meet. The upside of this is that with absolutely nothing going for you, you can still avoid taking on a real job.

That's the best I can do. Learn to live with disappointment.

Elrose Watermuldar