Point of View: Invasive Species

‘Paradise Lost’

“Oh good,” I said as I cast a glance at my phone on returning to the office on the cusp of Memorial Day weekend. “No one’s called.”

I’d been to Citarella and BookHampton, and was pleased to tell Bill at the bookstore that it was “just as crowded as Citarella,” which was saying something inasmuch as they had six people at Citarella’s registers and still couldn’t keep up with the volume.

“Buy it now cuz it will all be gone by nightfall!” I said to Mayra and Russ once the relative paradise of The Star was regained, adding that the volume of Milton’s poetry I had bought at BookHampton weighed almost as much as the broccoli rabe, onions, garlic, lemons, smoked prosciutto, and avocados I’d bought at Citarella. All but the avocados are to go into the orecchiette I’m making to feed the 5,000 (not really that many) at a family gathering/baby shower tomorrow.

Of course I won’t eat it, being on a low-cholesterol diet, which is to say primarily hummus, yogurt, and oatmeal. Mary force-fed me some chocolate ice cream last night, but otherwise I’ve been clean these past few weeks. I’ve not given up drinking though. In fact I told Mary recently that were I to attend an A.A. meeting, I’d get up and say, “My name is Jack Graves and I still use floppy disks,” which is not quite true, but almost.

Another week and I am not yet saved, though I know everything is saved on my computer, which is good news. I no longer get so tense wondering whether what I’ve written will ever reappear, as if on a page.

Frankly, I had second thoughts about toting to The Star Milton’s complete poetic works, for, as I learned, in thumbing through it, it wasn’t a poem I’d been looking for after all, but a prose work, “Areopagitica,” that might help me better to understand Blake, whom I’m reading about now.

“Oh, I’m reading Milton too!” a woman next to me at the counter said. “Is ‘Paradise Lost’ in it?”

“You want it?” I said, half-seriously, resisting the urge to make an analogy to the Hamptons.

“Actually,” I said to Bill. “I think I’m trying to redeem my failed college education — I’m reading all these poets I was supposed to have read 50 years ago. And now I don’t know if I’ll have the time.”

I asked him if he’d seen, by the way, the article on time in this week’s New Yorker.

“Mary wants very much to read it,” I said, “but she doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to find the time to!” And with that I was off, with plenty of food and with plenty of food for thought.


Dear Jack, Since you know how to use a computer, I suggest you research the efficacy of a low cholesterol diet. Intake has been shown to be the most minor factor. More important is exercise, weight, and genetics. Rather than eat a diet so restrictive, get the latest science and then act accordingly. Wishing you good health and good meals, Matthew Belmont, MD