Point of View: You’re What You Read

It makes you want to take your shirt off and do jumping jacks

It’s all the same eff-in day, man, Janis Joplin used to say, though some, as Mary would readily agree, are colder than others, such as this week’s were, but I could hardly contain myself this morning as I read that in the coming week the temperature will soar into the 30s, and perhaps even flirt with 40!

It makes you want to take your shirt off and do jumping jacks. Meanwhile, it is nice to be snowed in with the one you love. Ping-Pong is out because the basement’s too cold, but backgammon is in, and, though I’m a poor loser in general, I’m happy to say she’s winning. When she’s not beating me in backgammon, she’s reading by the fire.

“You are what you read,” she said, looking up from the week’s Times Book Review.

“Glad you’re not reading ‘The Iceman Cometh,’ ” I said. “ ‘A World Lit Only by Fire’ would be more like it if it weren’t so dark. And talk about being what you read, if in the Dark Ages you were caught with a vernacular translation of the New Testament, you’d be dead.”

As for being what you read nowadays, I’ve been reading about the universe and the unconscious recently, subjects heretofore pretty much unexplored by me, to such an extent that I think the next time I’m asked for my religious affiliation I’ll put down, Wondermentalist. (That’s it! I’ll declare myself the founder of the First Church of Wondermentalism, and file for non-prophet status. Put that in your smipe and poke it, I.R.S.)

I should add that insofar as wonderment goes it’s serendipitous that I haven’t entirely understood — at least on the first go-round — what I’ve been reading lately. So what else is new, you might say. But that’s just it. If I thoroughly understood what I read, I’d become jaded, I fear, world weary. This way, I’m in a state of wonder pretty much constantly even though I’m of great age. I think that is why Montaigne said he was happy he wasn’t so quick on the uptake. (Mary, too, I think, is sometimes in a state of wonderment, wondering, for instance, when I’ll take the garbage out.)

As for the unconscious, a state in which I find myself pretty much half the time — if not more — I keep wondering if I’ll ever crack the code of the symbols in my dreams. For instance, I dreamed the other night that I’d been told Mary had killed a wild boar. Or was it a mild boor?

At any rate, inside and out, there’s much that’s left to explore. Else what’s a lifetime for?