Saturday, February 7, 2009

And Yet He Looks Like Samuel Johnson

I feel like James Boswell.

Ok, that's going to require a little explanation. First, my last night. As those who know me can attest, I'm not exactly the partying type. Given choice, I'd prefer a small group of close friends over a casbah rocking. But on the other hand, long time readers know that I fancy myself someone who deliberately lives--in small doses--an interesting life. So after much hemming, hawing, and general indecision, I went to an English grad student house party last night.

In retrospect, it went EXACTLY how I should have expected.

And in this case, that's a good thing: I started out slightly awkward, but mellowed out as the night went on. I will credit a large portion of said mellowing to the fact that my four pack of pomegrante cider (Yes, pomegrante cider. Read the link above. Bad drink = good story. Also hangovers and intestinal problems, but those hazards come with the territory.) turned out to be a six pack, so when I thought I was downing my last drink of the evening, I was really just starting on the second half.

I've never drank enough to reach blackout levels, and tonight was no exception to that, but I'll admit to a general blurriness. What really stands out--besides the 5 km walk home at 3 am--is the Rock Band session. As will suprise absolutely no one who really knows me, by the third pomegrante cider, all I really want to do is belt out kareoke all night.

And that's roughly what I did. I performed righteously on "Mr. Brightside," kicked some major patoot on "Eye of the Tiger," and would have delivered an absolutely awesome "It's My Life" if it wasn't for not realizing until the song was half over that I was singing the Gwen Stefani version instead of the Bon Jovi version.

Now, the question I'm sure everyone is asking is: where does Mr. Boswell fit in? And if you're asking yourself that, then I have no choice but to belive that you just don't know Boswell.

John Boswell is an eighteenth century writer best known for his biography on his friend and mentor, Samuel Johnson. But he was also an accomplished autobiographer, and spent most of his life compiling a truly comprehensive memoir/journal. For my scandalous memoirs course, I'm reading "Boswell's London Journal 1762-1763." And if I feel like I had a night out on the town, I'm basically just putting a drop in the bucket to the ocean that is Boswell's life of cavorting and making with the merry.

But while he was an inverterate merry-maker, Boswell was also incredibly reflective. He was an avid church goer, which makes me feel a little guilty in comparison. On the other hand, I spend comparatively little time wenching with whores, so I guess we balance out. His journals show someone who was deeply conflicted with his life, and obsessed with how others saw him. Over and over again in his journals, he talks about feeling that he spoke too freely at a party, that he spent so much time trying to be the clown that he's not just afraid that he lost the respect of others, but that he lost respect for himself.

As someone who, in the past 24 hours, felt it absolutely necessary to convince a room full of people* he could do 50 push-ups, I get that.

And that's what I love about English: being in a position where I'm exposed to these ideas and texts that allow me to compare myself to an eighteenth century rake, or crack wise about Derrida's deconstructionist theories, or debate intepretations of chora. Bottom line: this stuff is fun.

Not fun is hovering around a toilet after the sixth cider, but that's another story. And probably one that doesn't deserve retelling.

*Come to think of it, it might have been an entirely empty room.

Later Days.


Anonymous said...

I was initially very interested because I thought you wrote, Samuel L jackson. shucks. But then I was excited to hear about your drunken shenanigans. ohhh person of consequence, you so crayza.
sincerely, Sibling of conesquence. (see what I did there? pretty clever huh?)

Person of Consequence said...

Clever beyond words, brother of mine. Unfortunately, there isn't enough pomegranate cider in the world to make me look like Samuel Jackson. Which puts a damper on my plan to infiltrate SHIELD....