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What To Wear To See The Pope

My taste in literature is like my taste in music - varied and eclectic. So after reading Dharma Bums, I read What to Wear to See the Pope by Christine Lehrer. The two books could not be more different, and my reasons for enjoying them couldn't be either. I did, however, think in regard to both of them, I would rather read a well-written book whose content/philosophy I disagree with, than a poorly written piece whose morals or worldview I would endorse

This book taught me US history (I'm ready for you, Jeopardy!!):
James Polk, as you may recall, became president in 1845, and it was during his tenure that we won the Mexican-American War and thus acquired California, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona New Mexico, Wyoming, and Nevada, without which, if you think about it, we would have no movie industry, no avocados, no surfing, no powder skiing, no cactus gardens, no Walt Disney, and no dude ranches. There would be no illegal immigrants in LA, and Mexico would have Olympic skiers. It seems fairly clear why the shipping company would name a liner for Polk, rather than Millard Fillmore or Grover Cleveland, for instance.

And reminded me of the beautiful reality of family:
When the telephone rang Olivier picked it up and I immediately knew we were about to plummet down the long chute of regression into stupid jokes we found funny as children. This was a hazard of spending time with siblings, and one of the best reasons for ensuring that familial visits be spent in private; it was also an excellent way to infuriate, alienate, and even disgust one's in-laws. Which was not always a bad idea.

"Right you are, Sweetness, because that is what we do, this family. We tell the same jokes, and pick the same fights. It's the only way we can tell we love each other."

And made me laugh at the dramatics of domestic life:
"Because it's the best knife. I need it," Gus said.
"I hate that knife," I said. I used to think it was a good knife, but I have changed my mind. That knife is a deadly weapon. It's taken on some evil personality all its own, like some teenage horror movie. I now regard that knife as the Quisling, the Malinche, the Judas Iscariot, the Benedict Arnold, the Kim Philby of knives."
"But it's the only decently sharp knife we have."
I started sniffling. "Are you listening? I can't live in the same house with that knife anymore. That knife has turned against me - me, who has kept it and used it and washed it probably thousands of times. I regard that as betrayal, or worse."
"What is worse than that?"


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