Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Catching wisdom with moribund chest hair

Margaret and Bessy were sitting in the garden with the rain pouring down this morning. I asked if either wanted a hot drink. They then disappeared from my view and the next thing I knew there were shrieks of laughter from behind me in the kitchen. It's an old trick they like to play when they think I'm not all there. I find it mildly irritating, so left them and went to find Felix.

Felix tells me there are men with irregularly trimmed chest hair on their way to subvert us all by preaching incessant words of moribund wisdom. I asked what wisdom is ever moribund. Felix asked if I knew my name. I told him what it was. He said that was moribund since neither of us needed to know it. That rather disturbed me.

George tells me that when he was reading vast works of medieval tax code he used to catch raindrops with chopsticks. I asked him if that was a trick he still did. He looked at me very severely and said that wisdom was not acquired by trickery but by the development of self control and intellectual rigour. I nodded and left the reception silently.

Cookie was in the photo on the wall. The photo is one I took of a man playing a flute in a Confucius temple. He was in pain, Cookie told me, so she was going to bring him for us to treat, which she did. And we treated him, and he was pleased, and then he went back to the picture and played a happy tune, which was lovely.

And there I am again: thinking that all is lost only to discover that, after all, it isn't. Or perhaps I just don't want it to be, so it isn't. Or perhaps it is all a trick, and someone's having a good laugh at me as they trim their chest hair.

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