[lit-ideas] Re: Friday Thing

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 00:38:11 -0700

Table Talk, Episode Three:  the Genre Lives

After dinner, the three of us walked to a pub. At the threshold we had to stoop, partly because the building was so old, partly because we were standing on the shoulders of giants. The others ordered water, San Pellegrino I think; I asked for a dessert beer. When we had settled ourselves at a table Martin Luther began, "The acknowledgment of angels is needful in the church. Therefore godly preachers should teach them logically." I just let that go; no sense trying to argue theology with Martin! Thackeray started in on an Irish story about a three foot long lobster and a machine he called a "despatcher." I had heard the whole thing before, but I managed to laugh in all the right places and he was none the wiser, I believe. My turn came. I told them I thought you could hook machines you find in gymns into the electricity grid and make a fortune, not because there would be much power generated by small dynamos but because you could then market "green" memberships. They expressed astonishment at my wit and invention. Thackeray said the idea reminded him of something they did at Charterhouse when he was a boy. I said everything reminds him of Charterhouse. We all laughed and continued until the drinks were dry. At nine Luther rose, saying he had to be up early because the plumber was coming in the morning; he's just about done with the theses but now the toilet's broken. We walked together to the door. Luther left. Thackeray said something about this spring being singularly pleasant, and took his leave, heading west. Alone, I hie'd me home, quick as a chased fox, not fearing cutpurses, merely anxious to record how my evening with the great men had gone.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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