Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mark Twain and a Kitten: An Ode

When this image was first brought to my attention, it seemed me that metaphorical stars were metaphorically aligning, and my documentative instincts immediately led to a trance of reflection. It's a horrible way to live, but we make due, don't we?

Anyway, I couldn't help but feel as though Twain was reaching out to me from beyond the grave via the medium of another literature enthusiast's blog. “Some people scorn a cat and think it not essential; but the Clemens tribe are not of these.” We, Enfields, are with you, Sam--undoubtedly, we are with you.

I was in Junior High when a teacher first introduced me to Mr. Clemens, the same year a balding football coach, through a class dubbed "Health Class," introduced me to intricacies of my then-changing body. In fifth period, we read Huck Finn aloud, several timid white children tip-toeing around the word "nigger" as though it were poison ivy or a land mine or something of that sort whilst looking in my direction to make sure the ethnic half of me hadn't taken offense, and in sixth, we watched a fifteen minute illustrating both the birds and the bees in unwanted detail, which was I how I saw the first vagina I'd ever see, crowning head and all. I had already developed a self-consciousness about my weight and my plump, perpetually-dry lips and my clammy, perpetually-moist palms. I tried to hold hands with the girl who had asked for my help on the Huck Finn paper, but she was not a fan of the nervous sweat dripping from our shared grasp.

My first girlfriend came in the 11th grade, and we kissed only once during our two-day long relationship. Once our lips had separated, she gave me a look that indicated I had done something wrong. To which, I retorted with an apologetic, puppy dog-esc stare, hoping that perhaps such a pathetic (dare I say, adorable) face might lend itself to at least a second chance. We broke up the next day.

I revisited Huck Finn for the first time soon after. It was my bowl of ice cream, my means of coping with what was then the most palpable tragedy of my life. There was a discourse between Huck and I, an exchanging of ideas generally reserved only for two living and real human beings, yet somehow, I could hear the voice of a century old country boy telling me that no matter how screwed up there's a place for everyone along the proverbial Mississippi River. It occurred to me then that this man, no matter how dead, and his work were my best friends. This initially struck me as rather sad, but I've now come to realize that it isn't sad in the slightest.

My best friend is a dead alcoholic who made a number of poor investments during his time and wrote a number of great books. If he were alive, if he could read this in any manner, I'd just want him to know that he is one of the most mis-quoted figures on the internet.

To which, he'd reply, "What the hell is an internet?" - Mark Twain.

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