Daily Office:


Matins: At the surgeon’s this morning, I did not even think of asking about the consequences of doing nothing. First of all, it would have been grotesquely histrionic. If you’re dying, maybe it’s all right to say “Let me go.” But my cancer is still stuck on my scalp, from which it will probably be removed without incident.

Lauds: Ben Brantley said something yesterday that threw me for a complete loop:

All artists steal from others. But if the resulting work holds your attention, you don’t consider its sources while you’re watching it.

Wow! Is that ever crazy wrong!

Tierce: I am crazy about Gail Collins.

And since McCain’s willingness to make speeches that have nothing to do with his actual beliefs is not matched by an ability to give them, he wound up sounding like Bob Dole impersonating Huey Long.

Dang, I wish I’d written that!

Nones: There are a lot of things that I’d like to see parents jailed for permitting, but truancy is probably a good start.

Compline: A recent British survey suggests that parents in only one family in three are reading to children. In my book, not reading to children isn’t just child abuse but antisocial behavior. Oremus…

§ Matins. I was wondering what Mohs surgery is all about. Dr Becker explained it so clearly that it seemed more like common sense than a procedure. You keep the patient in the chair, so to speak, until you’re sure that you’ve scooped out all the bad stuff. Not being a doctor, I’m sure that I’m missing important details.

Regular readers will remember that I broke my neck last year at about this time. The doctoring that it took to fix that, together with the wondrous halo of virtue that settled upon me when I managed to stick for a few months with the resolve not to drink spirits (which I was too old to be drinking, it seemed) — actually, I’ve stuck with it still — together with the moraine of shame that had piled up in the meantime, had one deleterious side-effect: I acted as though I’d been excused from seeing the dermatologist about my scalp. I knew that there were problems there, but they were still “pre-cancerous” — then. Eighteen months passed before I went back. And then, as some of you know, I didn’t go back; I made a change. I saw another doctor. And it seemed that things scalpwise were rather more serious than even I had feared.

But not quite so serious that I’d have been anything but ridiculous to ask the doctor, portetously, about “alternatives.”

Absolutely vintage rjk, when I think about it. Get me to tell you, sometime, about how I put my foot down, at the tender age of eleven, and refused to be subjected to an EEG! Can you believe that I got away with it? Of course, I was permanently spoiled.

§ Lauds. Considering the sources of what I’m watching is one of the greatest joys that I know. Listening to a bit of idle ballet from Verdi, I’m as thrilled as a Jockey Club man looking forward to his evening with a danseuse when I recognize the inspiration of Berlioz. No: more thrilled.

I don’t write about sex very much, and certainly not in the first person, but this blog is about pleasure, and I often think that what turns us on is pretty global. That is, what turns us on turns us all the way round. We’re simply wired, it seems, to like certain things. I think that Ben Brantley’s complaint is simply crazy, because if I were reminded of six or ten other plays by what I was watching in the theatre, I’d be thrilled. Doubtless this is conclusive evidence of my bourgeois decadence.

§ Tierce. So much for fun comments. Today’s fun Op-Ed piece is by Nicholas D Kristof. Do you have a problem with the fact that the chief of Lehman Brothers earned $17,000 an hour — and gets to keep it? I hope so.

§ Nones. Be sure to read Mad Mary’s comment at the bottom. Nebraska permits parents to drop their kids off at hospitals, firehouses, and police stations, in effect handing them over to the state. I’d like to see the red tape on that!

Affluent families can take advantage of boarding schools. No truancy at boarding schools! (Just expulsion.)

§ Compline. There are so many reasons why reading to children, especially at bedtime, is a vital part of daily life beside which almost all activities not involving feeding and cleaning take second place. The idea of substituting childplay at the computer is especially benighted.

Without an extremely compelling excuse, reading to children is an indispensable aspect of loving them.

2 Responses to “Daily Office:

  1. Mark F says:

    I had Mohs surgery on my arm yesterday to deal with the remains of a squamous cell carcinoma that had been taken out shortly before the heart surgery last month, but still had a bit left over. Several hours and eight stitches or so later, it was back home and ready to carefully change dressings for awhile. Petty simple, realy: careful excision of the naughty tissue, the necessary pathology work done at the office, the report, the binding-up, which for some patients may mean a trip to the plastic surgeon for a skin graft. But not me, and what’s one more scar these days? Get that stuff taken care of, old son!

  2. Yvonne says:

    R J, sorry to hear that you’ve been going through this health scare…what a relief that it can be taken care of.

    Robert and I send you our best wishes.