What an idiot I am. Okay, you already knew that, but this example of my stupidity is an absolute doozie.
The other day I compared the Comments section of my blog with that of the Grumpy Old Bookman and asked to which would you rather belong?
Grumpy's comment section has a sprinkling of quiet, academic types sipping sherry and nibbling vol-au-vents while engaging in serious literary discourse.
Mine is packed to the gunnels with noisy, boozy, disputatious reprobrates having a ball.
I suggested that Grumpy's blog was the place to be. How stupid can you get? Anyone with half a pulse would choose my place, wouldn't they? Don't believe me? Okay, come on over and I'll show you...
Location: Inside the blog, down among the Comments
You: Wow, man, this place is jumpin'!
Me: Told you. It's like this every night.
You (giggling): It's like an orgy in here, man. I've never seen anything like it! Who are these people?
Me: Well, let's see who's in tonight. That guy over in the corner.
You: The guy in the buckskins and the Davy Crockett hat?
Me: That's the one. That's JTA, the poet and writer.
You: He sure is one ornery-looking motherfucker.
Me: Yeah, ugly too. Lives up in the Ozark mountains or somewhere. He's not used to being around people.
You: He looks real mean to me.
Me: He is. That jug of moonshine hanging round his neck? A few swigs and you'll hear poetry flowing out of his mouth, sweet as birdsong.
You: No kidding? Who's the tall, statuesque broad. The one surrounded by all those young men?
Me. She's a beauty, isn't she. That's Maxine. Those young guys, they hang on her every word.
You: Let's get over there!
Me: Not so fast. What those guys don't know is that she's married and her husband...Well, the word on the street. Totally no sense of humour. If he sees those young dudes making up to his wife...look out.
You: Uh...okay. Maybe she's not my type. Who's that guy over there? The down and out. Is he selling the Big Issue or what?
Me: Don't let the raggedy clothes fool you, my friend. That's Skint Writer. He's autographing copies of his next best seller. I'd cut over there and get one if I were you. Few years time it'll be worth a packet.
You: Cool. Thanks for the advice, I will. Hey, who the fuck is that clowning around?
Me: Don't you know nothing, ace? That's the Minx. The life and soul of every party. She's no clown though. Take a peek behind the mask.
You: Let me see? Oh my God, she's...
Me: That's right. You know what they say. Inside every clown...Read her poetry, you'll see what I mean.
You: I will. These people, they're amazing. Not what you expect in a run-down joint like this. Hey, who the fuck is she?
Me: Which one?
You: The one in the middle, arguing with the crowd.
Me: That's Lynne Scanlon, everyone knows her. She's not called the Publishing Contrarian for nothing.
You: She sure is a mighty fine looking woman.
You: Strange though. Despite the ruckus I can hear every word she's saying.
Me: She's American.
You: Oh, I understand. Okay, let me see, who's that guy with the onions hanging round his neck?
Me: And the beret? That's Shameless. He lives in France.
You: Another writer?
Me: You got it. A good one too.
You: Crazy. But wait. Who's the sap standing all by himself watching everyone? Wait a minute. I don't believe it. That's not Gatsby is it?
Me: Gatsby's dead. That's the host. I don't know who he is either. Funny though, he does look somehow familiar. He's a bit of a mystery. Supposed to have made his money in oil but no-one knows for sure. Probably some scam.
You: If he's rich why does he look so sad?
Me: I dunno, he always looks like that. The story goes that when he was a young man of fifteen or sixteen he dreamed of becoming a writer. He never did of course, and now he hosts a party every night in the hope that some bigshot publisher might drop by.
You: And do they?
Me: Not to my knowledge. (Looks around). No-one from Macmillan here tonight, that's for sure.
You: That's so sad.
Me: Yeah, well the world is full of sad stories. Let's go and get a drink.
You: Good idea. I could murder a martini.
Me: Oh my God!
You: You've gone white. Are you all right? What is it?
Me: Our host. I know who he is. It's....me.
You: You sure? That is seriously weird.
Me: I didn't recognise myself. The white hair. I look so old. When did that happen?
You: Whatever. Anyway, he's leaving now. Let's go and get a drink.
Pundy leaves the blog and steps out onto the verandah. There is not a cloud in the night sky. He stares up at the moon, the same moon he gazed at longingly when he was a youth, when all his dreams still meant something.
Across the bay, over in East Egg where the writers live, the lights are twinkling in the studies where masterpieces are being written.
So we beat on, he thought to himself, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
Still stuck up shit creek without a paddle.