Special to The Sun
The U.S government appears to have gone mad and you’re feeling the stress. Drink and drugs are not an option, so you’re looking about for substitutes to calm your nerves and occupy your mind. You’ve brought your unfinished macramé project down from the attic where it had been since the ’70s, and now your fingers are raw and your grotesque work of art hangs in the window. You’ve leafed through last year’s seed catalog and planned next spring’s garden, and you’ve rejected a rejuvenating shopping spree in fear the government shutdown will send the stock market into a downward spiral once again taking your 401(k) with it.
Things are bad no matter which way you turn, and fixes are far between and temporal, but whatever you do, do not return to watching cable news 24/7! The president and both parties are furious with each other, and the people who report their shenanigans do what they can to egg us on, too.
“Egg us on.” It’s been awhile since I last heard that phrase. It was Horace, the Roman poet (65BC to 8 BC), who first used it. I’d like to say I can read it in Latin, but a Middle English translation is the best I can do — “Ile egge them on to speake some thyng, whiche spoken may repent them” — and even that comes to you fresh off the Google screen. I do read, though, which is why all this televised squabbling hasn’t yet driven me to drink/drug/macramé/seed catalogs, and why I recommend reading instead.
Many young lovelies first learned the benefit of books in their teens when they took the paperback with the most colorful, most innocently provocative cover to youth camp in the hope of giving bashful boy teens grist for striking up a conversation. I know I did, but more recently I’ve learned that a well-chosen book makes an excellent companion in itself, one capable of shutting out an unruly world.
If you’re feeling laid back and want to keep it that way, read a book like Richard Adam’s “Watership Down,” which is so much more than a children’s book about rabbits. Choose one that’s more stimulating if you’re in a rut and require inspiration to climb out. Maybe a book that titillates, though I don’t recommend E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I had to give up on Book I at page 23 when leather and whips came into play, but friends who finished the trilogy assure me that moral redemption occurs before Book III ends, which is exactly what I would have claimed if I’d read the series.
Oh, and about that Horace quote (I’ll egg them on to say something they’ll be sorry for), he also advised, “Mix a little lunacy in your wise counsel; sweet it is to be mad sometimes.” Could the government and the media be getting their talking points from an ancient Roman poet?
MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.