Monday, April 11, 2011


This scheme has worked against me as well.

Flip flop the roles and see how it works reversed:

“Why don’t we marry?” I asked Clare, lifting up my bulk on a ninety degree elbow and forearm, casting a critical glance at the gray-green haze that was Clare Mumpy.

“I don’t believe in marriage during war. People get married for the wrong reasons.”

“But you’ll become an American,” I told her.

“Why would I want to be an American,” she asked.

“Everyone wants to be an American.”

“That’s rot. I hate Americans. I want to stay single. I want to keep my options open. Why would I want to tie myself down?”

And she was right. I was galled because I was on the dirty end of the stick, but she understood, in excellent Vandemark fashion, that every choice, no matter how fabulously dense in its evocative hope, however expansive in rich glittering vistas of possibility, is a form of death.

For at the beginning of the race we stand naked and ready to face a world dense with sinuous branches. The hope, that hope, that we can be or do anything is only extinguished by forward momentum, by natural capacities tested or by concomitant failures acknowledged and abandoned, by circumstances or accidents beyond control, and by our own unfailing need to constantly make choices.

By exercising this doggedly persistent impulse we actually destroy the one mechanism we possess to guide our life. We chose our own deaths. We make a choice and guide ourselves down a path that narrows with each fork; and the forks, as we progress, become fewer and far between, until we reach the point of absolute nullity, that infernal spot with no choice inherent in it; a spot that no one can squirm out of…

But for young Langley Vandemark, hat perched jauntily on his broad forehead, wrinkled jacket rakishly thrown over his bulky shoulder, lightly skipping toward a Chock Full O' Nuts truck on the corner of Madison and 42nd, death had been given a decisive knock about the head and neck. And Clare, escaping from my rascally clutches, had shape shifted away from a possible world, and delayed, much to her credit and to my immeasurable shame ---- the impending tick-tock of the maw.

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