A Very Small Following

After two years they ran into what he termed significant relationship difficulties. They applied geographical solutions to non-geographical problems. They moved to London. They moved to Truro.  They even tried Lisbon.  But wherever they went they were still them. For example, he still had that ponytail.  It followed him everywhere.

Albert learns that sometimes his first thoughts are best left unspoken

They told Albert their sensitive news: they’d had to take tests for Chlamydia. They were embarrassed and upset so Albert should have practiced his caring nod and offered reassurance.

Instead he said, “I’ve always thought Chlamydia would be a lovely name for a girl.”

He quickly discovered this was unhelpful.

The Shortcut to True Love

Let’s save ourselves a little time.  Let’s cut out all that transitory physical attraction crap. Let’s avoid all those exotic photo opportunities.  Instead, let’s just cut to extensive lists of each other’s faults. Because isn’t that what love is – feeling drawn to someone who eventually itemizes each and every flaw?

The Sheer Privilege of Being

Bernard Malamud

Are you saying art is moral? (a question asked of Bernard Malamud in Paris Review Interview 1974)

It tends toward morality. Morality begins with an awareness of the sanctity of one’s life, hence the lives of others—even Hitler’s, to begin with—the sheer privilege of being, in this miraculous cosmos, and trying to figure out why. Art, in essence, celebrates life and gives us our measure.

Albert learns that he may not appear to be quite as lively as he’d hoped.

Albert’s five-year-old nephew, Harry, is playing with Albert in the park.  Albert’s showing him what you can do with leaves: how you can press them; how you can work out which tree they’ve fallen from.

‘Uncle Albert,’ Harry asks, ‘did you used to play with leaves? When you were alive?’