Posted By DMB
I have been seeing all sorts of quite impressive doctors who tell me I have a rare disease called vasculitis which affects the sensitive blood vessels, such as those in the lungs and the feet – hence the “dropped foot” – which I am still attempting to pass off as a romantic Byronesque limp, hinting at mystery and the promise of a deeply intriguing person. So far it has been quite unsuccessful, except that young women hold doors open for me and look faintly sympathetic. Someone suggested an eye patch might help, so I’ll try that next. However, all the doctors agreed it is quite appropriate that a rare book dealer should acquire a rare disease. I was a bit skeptical that their concept of rare might not measure up to the antiquarian trade’s view of rarity. I was forced to question them closely, in case they might be confusing the “rare” with the lesser “excessively scarce” or the mere “extremely scarce”. Since all antiquarian book people are aware that many over-enthusiastic sellers of books are prone to over-describe rarity – at least for their own books – I was afraid the doctors might be doing the same. So, this is doctor’s “rare”, not rare book “rare”.
 
“And now for something completely different…”
Reading a wonderfully eccentric travel book by Paul Theroux called The Kingdom by the Sea about traveling in England in 1982 during the Falklands War, I encountered this quote he got in a pub about the war,
“The Argies. They say they’ll eat the sheep, when there’s nothing else left. That’s not fair, eating the sheep. They have no right. The Falklands may belong to Argentina, but those are British sheep.” Could there be a better example of that English sensibility which gave us the immortal Monty Python? Theroux’s book is one of the weirdest travel books I ever read – all sorts of stuff like the above for Anglophiles.
 
1 Comment(s):
Maggie Keith said...
I have never forgotten Theroux's observation that, at a certain point, the elderly English decide they are too close to death to buy any more shoes. Result: the shoes of an English person of a certain agre are always cracked. Remembering this encourages me to shop for footwear from time to time and to discard the most decrepit examples lurking at the back of my closet.
August 10, 2016 12:26:03
 
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