Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Behold the Invisible Umlauts of Your Hideous Future

Some things happen as you age. Like, I just realized that I cited the wrong poem as my first exposure to John Berryman. It dawned on me, as in one of those epiphanies you've read about in our finer literary magazines, that "L." introduced me to Berryman through Dream Song #14, which begins, "Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so." The mind plays tricks! You cannot trust your own memories. Another example of aging: Last night, during class with my graduate students, I pronounced the name of Ashton Kutcher incorrectly. O! the mirth that ensued! Now I know what certain relatives felt as I inwardly giggled (though the giggling of grad students, as befits their position, is outward and bold) at their pronunciation of Ronald Reagan with a long "e" or Jerry Seinfeld as "Jerry Steinfield." You see, I said "Kutcher" with the long "u" sound, as in "hoochie coochie," whereas (as McNeil informed me ruefully this very morn, though where he gets his information I can only guess, as he is as decrepit as I am - one of his daughters, perhaps?) Kutcher's "u" should be approached as if bearing an invisible umlaut. But you'll see. You'll all see! Just you wait. Just you wait and see!