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September 27, 2014


That really is a perfect post, lj.

Thanks, and I have nothing to add.

The painter/forger sounds to me like someone who really loves the technical aspects of painting. But has no inspriation to come up with something new himself. So he found a way to indulge his passion, in spite of his handicap.

The guy compulsively going thru someone else's garbage, however? That strikes me as over the top. Even those of us who have the occasional odd kick in our gallop generally aren't nearly that peculiar. Well, at least his obsession seems relatively harmless. Except, perhaps, to Updike's reputation and/or peace of mind.

I'm sort of fascinated by the fact that Updike made his garbage so interesting.

I loved Updike, despite his detractors, who showed up legion after he died like landfill operators bidding for low-level nuclear waste.

I mean, after all, didn't Updike rifle through Rabbit Angstrom's dumpster and make exquisite art of it?

Could the upper middle class suburbs' garbage, of a certain time and place, be expressed and recycled any more sublimely, other than Cheever?

wj, if I had a family member addicted to alcohol or drugs and I could substitute that addiction to something like that, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

How lucky various folks were to be born into an age where psychopathy is so rewarded.

LJ, I agree entirely. I've had an alcoholic in the family, and it was no fun. It was sufficiently controlled (or, perhaps more accurately, indulged by his co-workers) that he managed to have a successful career, including 15 years as Chief of Police in Berkeley. But if I could have substituted something like the Updike garbage obsession, the family would have been enormously relieved.

I suspect that there are lots more careers than just Wall Street traders which reward obsessive behavior. Some authors I know would fit the bill, for example. The challenge for anyone with that kind of problem is to find the right place to focus it -- turn the problem into a gift, as it were.

"turn the problem into a gift, as it were"

There was a neat story about a Iraq veteran who had gotten a letter and a paper figure from a junior high school student that he had carried around through all his experiences, had come back, hit rock bottom because of PTSD, but eventually got out of it and found this paper figure and then was able to find the kid and his class who made these paper figures.

A small part of the story was that he had gotten a job working as a safety management inspector, going to factories and identifying all the places where an accident could occur. My retelling might be off, but iirc when he was recounting this to his case worker, the guy was amazed and started laughing and said 'let me get this straight, you found a job where having PTSD actually helps you do the work?!?' which helped him to realize how he had basically taken this crippling condition and made it into his livelihood.

My standing would improve drastically in a society that the sarcastic under-achiever.

"values" would be the missing word there.

Although, leaving it to guesswork must have been fun for the few minutes the sentence was without it.




The possibilities.

My standing would improve drastically in a society that [values] the sarcastic under-achiever.

Ditto. Deadpan snarking is significantly underappreciated (and I am unemployed despite a PhD in chemistry/chemical engineering).

"My standing would improve drastically in a society that [values] the sarcastic under-achiever."

I have begun to doubt there is a society where my standing could improve drastically, I am simply too old and unrestrained in my opinions to blend into any group of people.

Things were different for us when we were younger, Dobe.

I mean, man, I was always doomed, but you had such charm and could always get a leg up (and over).

Yet, here we sit on a park bench, together again. Where did it all go?


Hey, do you think your Dad would let us use his car tonight?

Thats it! I need a girl! Oh, wait, I have several, all ages. Well, I'll check on the car.

Hm, I would have liked to try that girl thing too but haven't yet*. Me and women is like Groucho Marx and clubs (not the cudgel, the etablissement). A shy cynic with a tendency towards deaapan snarking is not your usual chick magnet. The overweight does not help either. Fortunately,. I have not the least desire for offspring.

*the interest has never been mutual (and it was not always on my side, just about 90% of the time)

I've often thought it would be fun to collect art forgeries, but then would someone start forging art forgers and selling forged Landis forgeries of Cezanne?

A historic master of postage stamp forgers got unmasked only when he himself fell for a (flawed) forgery that he copied flawlessly.

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