Recently, I moved some of the Durants’ volumes, about 20 pounds’ worth, from my office bookcase to make room for others equally as edifying.
I have been majoring in edification these many years, trying to make up for lost time. Soon, I will have read all, or most of, the books that I ought to have read, and in fact was assigned to read, 60 years ago. And then I can become atomized in peace.
At any rate, I was just looking over some notes I made from the Durants’ “Our Oriental Heritage” and found:
“Confucius said that good manners, too, must be a care of the government, for when manners decay the nation decays with them.”
Speaking of which, I didn’t watch the decayer-in-chief’s speech the other night. And though the president’s tone apparently was less grating, I gather he — as Dick Rodriguez, The Star’s former linotype operator, used to say about our editorials — didn’t say anything.
Meanwhile, before our tax breaks out here vanish — mortgage interest, property taxes, state taxes, and things like that — I am seeing how far above the rumored future $30,000-per-middle-class-family tax deduction I can go. I’m treating it as a challenge, and it’s one I think I can rise to. First thing we do is deduct all the books — Mary’s too, for she talks to me about them — as a professional expense. Hearing aids as well, for if I didn’t have them I wouldn’t be able to hear her when she talks to me about her books. Nor would I be able to improve upon the language of my interlocutors.
Actually, I do have some new hearing aids now, behind-the-ear ones, though much tinier than the cumbrous bananas I used to wear, which enabled me to hear conversations up to 50 feet to my rear as lips flapped away two feet in front of me.
These hearing aids, I’m happy to say, are great improvements on those old ones. When I pee it’s a symphony, gusts of wind make me jump (as they do O’en), masticating’s a delight. . . .
It’s a cacophony, that’s for sure, but I don’t want to be a walking gated community, I don’t want to wall myself off. I’d only make — and I don’t mean to be unmannerly — one exception.