fuckhead favor

    Eventually Georgie said, “We better get some milk for those bunnies.”
    “We don’t have milk,” I said.
    “We’ll mix sugar up with it.”
    “Will you forget about this milk all of a sudden?”
    “They’re mammals, man.”
    “Forget about those rabbits.”
    “Where are they, anyway?”
    “You’re not listening to me. I said, ‘Forget the rabbits.’”
    “Where are they?”
    The truth was I’d forgotten all about them and they were dead.
    “They slid around behind me and got squashed,” I said tearfully.
    “They slid around behind?”
    He watched while I pried them out from behind my back.
    I picked them out one at a time and held them in my hands and we looked at them. There were eight. They weren’t any bigger than my fingers, but everything was there.
    Little feet! Little eyelids! Even whiskers! “Deceased,” I said.
    Georgie asked, “Does everything you touch turn to shit? Does this happen to you every time?”
    “No wonder they call me Fuckhead.”
    “It’s a name that’s going to stick.”
    “I realize that.”
    “‘Fuckhead’ is gonna ride you to your grave.”
    “I just said so, I agreed with you in advance” I said.
    – Emergency, in Jesus’ Son: Stories by Denis Johnson, HarperPerennial, 1993, pp. 83-84

Billy Crudup as FH in Jesus’ Son

Jack Black as Georgie and Denis Johnson as Terrence Weber in Jesus’ Son

When a fuckhead friend does you a favor, be thankful you are not a bunny.

In French, with inverted species relations:
Rien n’est si dangereux qu’un ignorant ami ;
Mieux vaudrait un sage ennemi.
— Jean de la Fontaine, L’Ours et l’Amateur des jardins

Image:Gustave Dore L'Ours Et L'Amateur Des Jardins.png
Illustration by Gustave Doré for Jean de La Fontaine, L’Ours et l’amateur des jardins

Хотя услуга нам при нужде дорога,
Но за нее не всяк умеет взяться:
Не дай бог с дураком связаться!
Услужливый дурак опаснее врага.
— Иван Андреевич Крылов, Пустынник и Медведь

all hat and no cattle

Anna had visited Texas many times before in her life, but until now she had never gone there alone. Her visits had always been with Ed, keeping him company on business trips; and during those trips she had often spoken about the Texans in general and about how difficult it was to like them. One could ignore their coarseness and their vulgarity. It wasn’t that. But there was, it seemed, a quality of ruthlessness still surviving among these people, something quite brutal, harsh, inexorable, that it was impossible to forgive. They had no bowels of compassion, no pity, no tenderness. The only so-called virtue they possessed — and this they paraded ostentatiously and endlessly to strangers — was a kind of professional benevolence. It was plastered all over them. Their voices, their smiles, were rich and syrupy with it. But it left Anna cold. It left her quite, quite cold inside.
    ‘Why do they love acting so tough?’ she used to ask.
    ‘Because they’re children,’ Ed would answer. ‘They’re dangerous children who go about trying to imitate their grandfathers. Their grandfathers were pioneers. These people aren’t.’
    It seemed that they lived, these present-day Texans, by a sort of egotistic will, push and be pushed. And it was all very fine for a stranger in their midst to step aside and announce firmly, ‘I will not push and I will not be pushed.’ That was impossible. It was especially impossible in Dallas. Of all the cities in the state, Dallas was always the one that had disturbed Anna the most. It was such a godless city, she thought, such a rapacious, gripped, iron, godless city. It was a place that had run amok with its money, and no amount of gloss and phony culture and syrupy talk could hide the fact that the great golden fruit was rotten inside.
— Roald Dahl, The Last Act, in Collected Stories, Everyman’s Library, 2006, pp. 698-699


More than once, Dahl offered up anti-Semitic remarks; in 1983, he told a journalist that “there’s a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity … I mean there is always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.”
— Margaret Talbot, The Candy man: Why children love Roald Dahl’s stories — and many adults don’t, The New Yorker, issue of 2005-07-11 and 18

Moral: It’s OK to be anti-Texan. It’s not OK to be anti-Semitic.

one tough marielito


Orlando Boquete, 52, exonerated of sexual assault by DNA evidence last May 23, after 22 years as a fugitive.

Ne Tibi Supersis

Ne tibi supersis:
don’t outlive yourself,
panic or break a hip
or spit puree at the staff
at the end of gender,
never a happy ender —

yet in the pastel light
of indoors, there is a lady
who has distilled to love
beyond the fall of memory.

She sits holding hands
with an ancient woman
who calls her brother and George
as bees summarize the garden.

— Les Murray, 5 January 2007, TLS

Crossposted to [info]larvatus and [info]expats.