Sunday, May 07, 2017
The Tinder of Our Wishes
when my book about cigarette lighters came out? Me neither! But for a while there I would see something and think, "Oh, I should have put that in my cigarette lighter book. If only I had known!" But after a while you stop thinking that because you'd go mad. Mad, I say! But I just read AGNES GREY. To my surprise there were no owls in it, because those Brontë sisters are usually reliable purveyors of literary owls. The closest we get are some rooks who fly away as the sun sets: "For a moment, such birds as soared above the rest might still receive the lustre on their wings, which imparted to their sable plumage the hue and brilliance of deep red gold; at last, that too departed. Twilight came stealing on..." And I was like, "Oh, boy! Here come the owls." But there were no owls. Here's what Anne Brontë DID have: something I would have stuck somewhere in my cigarette lighter book, had I read it in time... "the flint and steel of circumstances are continually striking out sparks, which vanish immediately, unless they chance to fall upon the tinder of our wishes." I also enjoyed (this is unrelated) her elaborate conceit on the subject of a lonely glowworm. Anne Brontë is in great sympathy with nature. The same cannot be said for Arnold Schwarzenegger, I fear. We watched most of ERASER last night. You know, Dr. Theresa and I saw it in the theater when it came out, and I associate it with the very earliest years of our marriage. I did not recall the part in which Arnold is being pursued through a zoo by some bad guys, so he shoots out the glass on a tank full of alligators, and the alligators immediately begin eating the bad guys. "Don't they feed these alligators?" I wondered. Actually, what I wondered was "Don't they feed these crocodiles?" But I decided later that they were supposed to be alligators, for reasons that will soon become clear. So after the alligators eat the bad guys, one of them gets after Arnold, so he shoots it in the head. Hey, these alligators just helped him out! And isn't he responsible for them now? Doesn't he realize their terrible irony? But no, he just says, "You're luggage." That's what he says after he shoots the alligator. I found it unnecessary! First of all, the alligator is already dead. Second of all, even if the alligator was alive, it wouldn't be able to understand what you were saying. Third of all, why are you gloating? Even if forced into a situation in which she was required to kill an alligator (there is some arguable precedent in AGNES GREY), Anne Brontë never would have gloated about it! Fourth of all, why are you staying and making wisecracks to a dead alligator when there are more bad guys coming? In any case, his remark was in extremely bad taste. I decided they were meant to be alligators because I believe shoes and belts and boots and suitcases are traditionally made from alligator hide, not crocodile hide. I don't know the difference. I must sadly conclude by noting that Arnold Schwarzenegger appears in my cigarette lighter book more than once, poor Anne Brontë (as noted) not at all.