Sunday, September 03, 2006

I suppose this post has spoiler potential for those of you eagerly about to read Willa Cather's short story, "Paul's Case," and, yes, do so without delay.

Please consider yourself warned.

On the subway I paged through the 1936 edition of Burrell and Cerf's Bedside Book of Famous American Stories. Willa Cather wrote "Paul's Case." It is one of the 67 stories in the collection and I read it with great illumination as I already had a fondness for Madame Bovary. I remember spending an adolescence feeling as misplaced as Paul ("There's no one quite so worthy of the way I feel."). To his credit he didn't make a fool of himself rightfully settled into the Waldorf with his stolen loot. When money ran low he even took the train toward home, but this I cannot condone... and I doubt she did, although she did write the story... he saw fit to accelerate his body's inevitable demise. End of story.


There was a woman last night outside of the Theatre for the New City sitting on the corner of East 10th and 1st as the light rain fell pleasantly upon us. She was equipped with a bag containing a gallon of gin. According to the theatre manager, the fellow she attended the theatre with, thanks to complimentary tickets, may have run off after injuring her. She could not put standing pressure on one of her legs. Was it broken? She sat back down. I called 911. She took gulps from the bottle. One of the attendants in the Beth Israel ambulance that arrived promptly, greeted her familiarly... Hi, Peg.

It was only 11:30 PM. I used to love sitting in on the midnight plays running at Theatre for the New City in the 1980's when it was on 2nd Avenue and East 10th. The most familiar memory I can share is that of Ethel Eichelberger playing accordion.

As for the Cather story, money can cost so much emotion that, having undergone the trauma of acquiring it, you will be truly gifted to relax and enjoy the doubtful luxuries it can purchase.