Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Richard’s diary February 8th 2011 Tuesday – home 17:00 All day yesterday with CTs, bone marrow biopsy next week on Thursday morning. They think the counts could well be low due to damage to marrow by AZT, rightly taken out of my meds now. The lab work should give indications, whatever. Jünger selections translation went off to Minn. this morning by e-mail, two weeks ahead of deadline; payment is already on my account. Unbelievable how mass mediamnesia is turning that monster Reagan into a demigod on his 100th birthday. Demi is at least correct: he was only half of an actor and later became at best half of a president, enriching his friends and the wealthy while all the rest were told to enjoy the "trickle". There was nothing he did that was good. His election prompted me to have my passport renewed; his re-election was one of the reasons I wanted to leave the country. The best thing he did was to fall victim to dementia and forget he had ever been president; he only recalled all his B-movie roles as Oscar winners, and Nancy tried to protect little Ronnie from the outing he and the whole family so urgently needed. Just being an old dead president doesn't make you a good one! Historians needn't be kind; it is sad enough how they attempt to boil complicated intricacies down to linear sequences. Two quotations from “The Autobiography of Mark Twain”, volume 1, which is so heavy and voluminous that I can only read it here at home. It finally arrived in the end of January, so I could begin it on weekends between class weeks and now have much more time. (I only skimmed the mammoth introduction, have read the “Preliminary” pieces in full, and am now well into the “Autobiography" proper.) These to come from the preliminary, abortive first efforts include in some early publishers’ non-authoritative versions:

“My experience of men had long ago taught me one of the surest ways of begetting an enemy was to do some stranger an act of kindness which should lay upon him the irritating sense of an obligation."
[p. 87] “It is my settled policy to allow newspapers to make as many misstatements about me or my affairs as they like”… [p. 93] These two near aphorisms are in themselves more than sufficient proof of the infinite wisdom of the man who penned them! How long will I live, then? Asking that question, at all might be a sign of greater age, although I remember as a teenager and young man being relatively convinced I would not live to the beginning of this now 10-year-old century. Now the question is one, often provoked by mere numbers, occasionally by tests of Dr. H. rushes me around to for unsatisfactory counts. Yet I feel neither anemic nor old and am as determined as ever to grow old loving D and living with him. And I wouldn't change a thing. My life is glorious and full of love. Nothing can compare favorably with it. Twain writes that few are able or even willing, to die well. The Countess did, in the end; she let herself accept that in those first February weeks four years ago as we sat there in attendance to help her do it all well. That's why Terri is now doing Presbyterian seminary, to be able to help officially (churchly) others to die well. I hope she will not need what she learns there or learned in 2007 for any personal situations for a long time to come. There are so many observation cameras everywhere, yet there isn't even a “Street View" from Google for Chicora Court, nor for that matter, for Hiddensee, where the lighthouse webcam has also been defective for several weeks now. How often have I told the Walter Mayberry story? Every time I attempt to explain the deep-seated bad character of the bushbaby, I'm sure, even though I cannot really be sure that he was the one, but I remember his name and vaguely where he lived, as well, in the big dip on Hill Street several blocks closer than our house to the elementary school site of his milk-spattering crime. He was the one, at least whenever a name makes it easier to relate the incident of the great monitor’s fall from grace. Ms. Lewis must have been the one who rescinded his grace. I'm sure that was the name of our first-grade teacher, even though she has neither face, nor figure, nor voice in my memory where the book lists on the wall are vivid. © Dr. Richard Gardner