I had a column about my Scrabble complaints ready to go, but thought better of it inasmuch as it seemed, in reading it over, as opaque as a mud flat after a heavy rain.
In brief, it didn’t breathe. But I did think what I said about the mouse-eaten Webster’s New International Dictionary sagging forlornly at the edge of Irene’s desk was Chekovian, she and I being the only ones left in this office to do it reverence.
I lean in closer nowadays — my sight having long ago been given in service to The Star — but my joy is no less than it ever was when I find my suppositions as to the subtleties of meanings confirmed, however archaic the words may be. (The more archaic the better, in fact.) “I knew I was right, I knew I was right!” is my invariable refrain.
The little red one in the back, which everyone else considers the arbiter now, is evidence that the world has passed us by. I imagine us sitting on a porch at teatime alternately reciting in the gloaming verses of “Horatius at the Bridge.”
“ ‘Lars Porsena of Clusium . . .’ ” “ ‘By the Nine Gods he swore . . . !’ ”
Ah yes. . . . Well, there is little time for tea and batting Macaulay back and forth anymore; it’s coffee on the run now, and there’s barely a moment amid the frenzy and frequent tick checks to congratulate oneself on being right.
Which reminds me, I saw a most wonderful thing today, on returning to the office coffee in hand — a tick of about my height crossing Main Street.
“I bet you don’t see a sight like this here very often,” the fellow leading him said to me.
“My wife sighted four on her this morning,” I replied, glad that this chance meeting had persuaded me, who had absented himself from felicity a while, to put an antic disposition on.
We did a shoot soon after, in the garden next door, the guide on a bench perusing The Star, unaware of the titanic tick behind him, eight legs outstretched, looking on.
“Fantastic!” I said. “It’s not often that you see a man reading The Star on a bench unaware that there’s a titanic tick behind him, eight legs outstretched, looking on. Maybe this will be a fun summer after all, a parTICularly fun summer. And now I’m itching to get back to work where with renewed energy I’ll continue moving forward into the past.”