The Hellhole

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Last night on "Jeopardy!" there was a T.S. Eliot category. I was totally acing the category: "April! April is the cruelest month! Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats was adapted to a hit Broadway show! [aside] Macavity's a Mystery Cat, he's called the Hidden Paw! Murder in the Cathedral is what premiered at Canturbury Cathedral! A whimper! A whimper is how the world ends, not with a bang. [aside] That's from "The Hollow Men" - title is a reference to Guy Fawkes, y'know!" All those exclamation points are necessary because I get very happy and excited when I know the answer.

Then came the last clue in the category, which I disremember how the question was worded but the answer was "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock". After answering, I turned and spouted excitedly to Alan, "Let us go then, you and I/When the evening is spread out against the sky/Like a patient etherised upon a table -"

He looked at me rather puzzled so I explained, "The love song! Of J. Alfred Prufrock! 'In the room the women come and go, talking of Michelangelo!' That's not my favorite part though."

"Oh?" asked Alan, with that familiar expression of wary curiosity like he's not quite sure he wants to ask.

"No! [bouncing up and down on my couch cushion] 'Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach? I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me'. That's the best bit. And there are more 'In the room the women come and go, talking of Michelangelo'."

"Mmm-hmmm," Alan said, looking at me askance.

I continued to churn out random Prufrock couplets and after "Jeopardy!" was over, I looked up Prufrock on the intarwebs and showed him, proud of the accuracy of my quotes.

"You know, honey, I love that you're smart. I really do. But sometimes? You're kind of scary."

I-am-not-egotistical disclaimer: this is only because Thomas Sterns Eliot is one of my very, very favorite poets. I'm woefully ignorant when it comes to things like the Missouri River flowing through Bismarck, North Dakota, and New Hampshire being the last colony to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Alan knew those and lots more.


  • Hey, that's one of my very favorite poems too and remember many many lines from it! But that's extremely rare for me and typical for you, so I don't claim to be anywhere near as S-M-R-T as you or Alan. :-)

    By Blogger Nancy, at 10:04 PM  

  • I don't think I'm S-M-R-T so much as I have a good remembery.

    I have measured out my life with coffee spoons; I know the voices dying with a dying fall/Beneath the music from a farther room.

    So how should I presume?

    By Blogger Helly, at 10:29 PM  

  • The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is my favorite poem of all time, bar none. I can recite damn near the entire thing from memory, just like you.


    By Anonymous Phil C., at 4:19 PM  

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