Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting Religion

Curiously, maybe stupidly, I'd thought about trying to re-read Madame Bovary as a manual on how not to treat a woman. If it could even work that way, I confess I didn't see it this time either. Don't--what? Don't tempt? Don't indulge? Don't marry? Don't even touch? Honey, I've tried all this, and the results are in. Good news, I'm not involved with a poisonous reptile; alas, I am a bit lonely.

Emma Bovary, though, made me tired. She tired me out, sucked me dry and ran me ragged, exhausting my patience for...myself. As it happens. Like one of those jeweled bracelets from India, where a leopard or some such seizes the tip of its own tail between diamond incisors; the lovely lock clicks fast, invisible and perplexing. I massage enamelled jaws and squeeze: nada. Try to fold up my hand bones into a spout, a snout, an old Chinese foot, and shake: a mistake. Now I'm bound to admit things.

The love lives of how many old fat men, young scrawny men, poetical hairy men, fastidious brainy men, honest dolts, roving rotters, and basically boringly good men, between us, Emma Bovary and I, have we left long black scratches on? Without knowing? Or caring? With our sharp hips and put-downs and our exasperated sighs which are not even personal, but the emanations through us of the same ineluctable agency that flicks our on/off switches with poltergeist glee at terrible moments: something deeply amused at the discomfiture we've caused. Something paring its fingernails, while our unreasoning and disordered superabundance of nerve eats through fatty sheaths of wishful thinking. The Moral Order is the medium of dissolution: Just don't--just don't--what? Just don't corrupt; just don't cause divorces. Just don't push me, Moral Order! I'm tired; but I too was made to be a joke on men and my senses remember the sweet spot: baddah-bing, right where they live. I'm only in abeyance. Do not disturb, do not rouse me from my reading of Les Misérables at work; pass my cubicle by, boys, while I bury my face in a convent.

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