A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Monday, February 09, 2004 :::
A Mind That Suits was hardly a bad boy this weekend: yesterday was a very productive day of studying, but, as he got up shamefully late (after a long Saturday of work and a couple of hours of post-work relaxation with the neighborhood friends), he found he was not tired at the end of an 8-hour day. This is studentitis in its worst form, and so when he was preparing to park his sagging frame on a stool at Ye Olde Neighborhood Pool Hall for another hour of reading or so, it was hardly surprising that the only other people there were actual students.

They had, it turned out, assembled to celebrate the coming of age of their youngest member, whom I met because he kept coming up to get the drinks. In what is apparently a ritual that A Mind That Suits does not remember from his own youth, 21-year-old newbies seem to get this treatment a lot. Their older, more worldly friends--in this case, with an average age of perhaps 21 years and 43 days--push their younger friend up to the bar, now that he can pass muster with an ID not produced using Photoshop. But then again, A Mind That Suits went to a college where the nearest bar was two miles away and few people had cars, so that you remained dependent for libations on richer older friends throughout your undergraduate career. Such rituals were not possible. The young gentleman in question, whose looks guaranteed that he would get carded 'til very close to 30, was mainly psyched about the Pats, as he and his friends were from the People's Republic of Taxachussetts. He went to AU ; they had driven down for the weekend. He was pleasantly blotto enough to make an amusing conversational partner even if one had no particular attachment to either of this year's Super Bowl contenders.

But I had already been introduced after a fashion to another member of his party, a perfectly lovely young lady. The stool directly under a light had suffered from spilled beer, and so A Mind That Suits was rearranging the stools when this young lady walked with firm intention right where it was his firm intention to put the stool. But, while the young lady was indeed intent on booze--in this case, a boilermaker using Bailey's as the whiskey--she was actually intent on A Mind That Suits, or rather, his reading a material, From the Gracchi to Nero, H.H. Scullard's magisterial study of the collapse of the Roman Republic and the formation of the Empire. She picked it up, quickly read both covers and then began flipping through it. Unsure of her thinking, A Mind That Suits vouchsafed that it was wonderful, which it is. It was only after giving the book a very expert once over that the young lady--whose name he never learned--turned to ask about the reading habits of A Mind That Suits.

She was a bibliophile of the highest order, and in typical young person fashion shot out every question she could, making her interlocutor fish around in his head for a minute at the same time that he was was wondering--as he often does when talking to undergraduates--if the brain's need for oxygen was going to ever override this brainy young person's need to talk. It turned out she shared his passion for Dostoevsky, and was very excited when A Mind That Suits mentioned Joseph Frank's five volume biography and literary study of Dostoevsky. A Mind That Suits is stalled a little in his Five Year Plan (that's a joke) to read the biography along with the books in the order that Dostoevsky wrote them. She maintained that she had only to read the Demons (or the Devils or the Possessed, depending on how you want to translate it, apparently), but that she was putting it off because then there wouldn't be any more. You can always reread them, A Mind That Suits reminded her, and then told her about his own adventures with the Lord of the Rings. He also told her of one of his favorite quotes from his intellectual ideal, William F. Buckley, Jr . Mr. Buckley says, somewhere in one of his two wonderful "diaries"--which you can find here and here-- that he always carries a book or magazine with him out of fear that he will be stuck "for an hour, ten minutes, or even ten seconds" without something to read.

Quoting Mr. Buckley was a bit of a risk, as A Mind That Suits had easily discerned the young lady's politics. She just loved Hunter S. Thompson's autobiography, especially the "anti-Bush quotes." A Mind That Suits, ever the gentleman, did not vouchsafe that he had--quite intentionally--avoided anything with the name "Hunter S. Thompson" attached, but did let slip that "he can be great," in the hopes that perhaps he could be and A Mind That Suits had not committed a venial sin. But the young lady was, well, young, and neither Mr. Buckley nor A Mind That Suits is, and so she drew a blank, but she carries a large bag with just the same intent, so she enjoyed the quote.

Of course, when one meets the woman of your dreams, it never works out. Not only was she too young by half, but she was spoken for, which is hardly surprising. Were he 21 again, A Mind That Suits could not hope to compete, as her young gentleman was 6'4", broad shouldered, fit, and blessed with a sunny personality.

The little S.O.B.

One hopes he is an engineer, because he could never keep up in a word competition.

The appointed hour for the bus arrived, as it must, and A Mind That Suits wandered over to wish everyone a pleasant evening. The young lady, of course, got straight to the point, but not until after, he is pleased to note, shouting to all and sundry that "he is COOL." ("Go Pats!!" yelled the Birthday Boy, apropos of nothing.) But then she shouted a question about the election. When A Mind That Suits mumbled in mock confusion that he was afraid this question was going to come up, she shouted again (she was young, after all) "this after 5 minutes of talking to me!!!!!!!!!!!" But when it turned out that A Mind That Suits was a shameless and unrepentant Republican, the Lucky Young Man (the boyfriend) came over as the Birthday Boy began gesticulating, and vouchsafed that "you're in the wrong conversation," by which he meant any attempt at a meeting of minds was bootless, though A Mind That Suits doubts any of the youngsters aside from the girl had ever encountered the word "bootless." The young lady jumped up and dragged the Lucky Young Man back over to show me his T-shit, which had two drawings, one of the middle section of a young lady at the point of pulling down her panties, the other of our illustrious but overreaching President. The first was labeled "Good Bush," the second "Bad Bush." How very foul our culture has become.

But the young lady was not to be deterred in her enthusiasm for this jolly professor she had run into or in pursuing her conversation, and when we finally said good night, she shook my hand gladly, but not without mumbling "Vote Democrat" before she said brightly, "it was great meeting you." A Mind That Suits mumbled "not a chance in Hell" before loudly returning "and it was great meeting you," at which the lady mumbled the mildest of epithets.

And I sure do hope her professors come to class prepared, because she surely does.

Have a good one.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 12:12 PM



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What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

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