Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Taste of My Yesterday...

I would like to recount an episode from my early childhood which has only recently surfaced within the realms of my consciousness. It is rather amusing admittedly but for me it is one of those occasions where its significance is only understood later on, when the mind has left its juvenile abode in favour of the invaluable though mostly tortuous dwellings of maturity.

And so once when I was staying with my grandparents for the summer in their country house, I was quietly absorbed by the latest book I was on the verge of finishing reading. I cannot recall precisely which book it was, but it must have been a childhood favourite, something like Tom Sawyer or Lassie or perhaps the Arabian Nights. The house incidentally was a reading heaven for me – it was as old as the Sumerians (made of mud bricks), it kept cool in the scorching summer heat, and most importantly, it was immune to the spoiling effect of daylight and this is what preserved its eerie atmosphere. Every sinisterly creaking piece of furniture inside dated back at least a few generations and the dark-age walls were adorned with the ghostly portraits of my long deceased great-grandparents who peered out at me, finding themselves at the root of my most grotesque nightmares. All in all, a house perfectly suited for a 9 year-old...

Next to my bed I could sense the imposing presence of the large wooden chest which was buried under tonnes of dust though its bulging silhouette possessed a constant, uninvited spot at the corner of my wary eye. It was the harbinger of my most intimate fears and it always managed to conjure up a mass of malevolent sensations only natural for a child my age. Strangely enough, I never actually knew what its contents were but the all-pervasive silence of the house somehow urged me to venture in and see. And so I opened it. Aside from an unimpressive heap of ancient books, I stumbled across some old memorabilia, a couple of Boney M and Abba vinyl records and a certain worthless amount of foreign banknotes, mostly from the good old Eastern Bloc.
Soon enough, I got bored with it and eventually swallowed up the harsh truth – the chest was devoid of any object of interest whatsoever and thus it nearly put and end to my quest to find the philosopher’s stone...
But a child’s curiosity, boundless as it is, prevailed and so as a consolation, I decided to inspect the books that were on offer. All of them were thick hardcovers, mercilessly weighing upon my sweaty, fragile hands with enough dust to blind me for good. ‘No matter’, I though, ‘if anything it is sagacious dust...’

After prolonged deliberation, I settled on ‘The Captain’. Its cover was uniformly red, evidently uninviting but if I was to satisfy my inquisitiveness, I had to make a choice and ‘The Captain’ seemed to be the best compromise since its title contained the prospect of adventure. And so I opened it and began reading. Page after page, complex statistics jumped up and down like notes on a stave but this mystery captain I was looking for was nowhere on the horizon. Unsurprisingly, I soon got tired of it, closed it, threw it on the floor and denounced it in the name of the improvisational Tedious Act I made up especially for the occasion. I lay on my bed for a few minutes disappointed with such heartfelt bitterness as only a child is capable of.

Again, I had to admit defeat. With an uncomforted frown on my face, I picked up the culprit from the floor and glanced at its cover for one last time. Utterly bewildered, I suddenly realised the terrible truth – I was reading Das Kapital by Marx.
I was extremely sorry that I couldn’t find this mystery captain but at least now I had an idea why. With a renewed nonchalance, I simply threw the book back in its resting place – the old, dusty chest which from this moment on, was exorcised forever from the corner of my eye...
I wanted to go out, but outside it was now raining.


At 13 March 2008 at 22:38 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have about the same reaction to Marx myself. He's certainly ruined a couple of my afternoons, too.

At 14 March 2008 at 03:48 , Blogger Underground Dude said...

O Captain! My Captain!

At 17 March 2008 at 19:05 , Blogger Louis Berceli said...

That was actually hilarious. Don't buy any LCD TVs, though.

At 17 March 2008 at 20:36 , Blogger IPCHUK said...

Certainly not!

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