Category Archives: Literary Poop With Professor Nannerpants

Literary Poop with Professor Nannerpants – Analysis of “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway

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By: Professor Horatio J. Nannerpants, Official Bookshelf Battle Blog Literary Correspondent

Ahh, there’s nothing quite like Paris in the summer, 3.5 readers.  The streets are awash with with inspiring sites, the cafes are filled with delectable aromas and my poop?  Why, it sticks to the wall effortlessly whenever I fling it, the warm weather makes it extra sticky, you see.  It’s all science, really, and as my former colleague, Dr. Hugo von Science has been known to say, “You can’t argue with science.”

Now then, good people, and also you people reading this here…have you ever been down on your luck?  I should assume so.  After all, if you were a very lucky person you wouldn’t be spending much time reading this pitiful excuse for a blog now would you?

But seriously.  Have you ever been stuck in a rut?  Down for the count?  Perhaps you’ve felt like the world has turned its back on you, that life isn’t going your way, that it would just be easier to lie down and give up rather than keep trying and failing?

Balderdash!  Whenever my poop misses its intended target, do I give up?  Nay!  I just fling another poop and try, try again.

And you should too.  In fact, when you are down in the dumps, you should peruse a copy of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea.”  It’s a short read, but full of powerful inspiration.

If you’re very obtuse, you might see it as a tale about a crusty old bastard who caught a fish, but it’s so much more than that.  Let us discuss the various takeaways, shall we?

Getting Out of a Rut Takes a Lot of Work and a Long Time

At the start of this tale, the old man has gone eighty-five days without catching a fish.  That’s a long time to try and fail at something.  His fellow Cuban villagers have begun to see him as hopeless.  Don’t misunderstand – the old man is loved by his people.  They would gladly feed him and look after him, but he is too proud not to at least try to fend for himself.

Whenever you face any kind of problem, be it the inability to catch a fish for eighty-five days, or perhaps to put it in real world terms, an addiction that’s killing you, or perhaps the inability to find a job, you can’t quit.  You must always keep trying, even when things look bleak and it seems foolish and useless to continue to try.

Know two things.  To get out of your rut, it will a) take a long time and b) take a lot of effort.

After his eighty-five days of failure, the old man hooks a big, fat ass fish, a thousand pounder.  Over the course of several days, the old man and the fish struggle against one another.  It’s hot.  The old man is far out at sea, isolated, little food, little water, exhausting himself physically and mentally just to catch this fish.

At any time, he could have just cut the line and set the fish free but no, he didn’t.  He was tired of being a failure.  He wanted that victory, to feel like a somebody again.  So he didn’t bail out when opportunity presented itself.  He fought the fish and he won.

Apply this to real life.  If you’re an alcoholic, it’s going to take a long time and a lot of effort to get off the sauce.  The effort might come in the form of attending Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, finding more kosher pastimes outside of the bar – working on your body and mind, getting yourself in better physical and mental condition.  You’ll have to tell your enablers to shape up or take a hike.  You’ll have to stay away from whatever triggers you to take a drink.

It will also take a long time.  Don’t feel depressed if it’s been a couple of days without a drink and you still feel like you’d give a hand job to a hobo for a sip of beer.  Maintain hope that the longer you stay off the hooch, the less you’ll want it.

Can’t find a job?  Same idea.  Work for it.  Put out those resumes, applications and cover letters.  Go forth and seek out key figures in your field and find ways to get your foot in the door.  Network.  Seek volunteer and intern opportunities to boost your resume.  Seek the necessary education and credentials.  Take some job, any job, just to have money coming in and to be able to say you’re doing something other than playing video games all day when you finally land that interview for the job you really want to do.

Whatever the problem is, your opportunity will come one day (i.e. the fish).  Will you puss out and cut bait and run from that opportunity, or will you be like the old man and wrestle the shit out of that fish until you can finally bonk it on the head with an oar and tie it to the side of your boat?

Haters Gonna Hate

Sharks.  The buttholes of the sea.  Once the old man bags his fish, sharks swim up to his boat and chow down on the old man’s prize even though they did none of the work required to land the fish.  The old man fights them off desperately and managed to land some powerful attacks on them but ultimately, it is too late.  There’s nothing left of the prize fish but a skeleton.

As you venture forth to solve your own problems, there will be many “sharks” who will get in the way.  People will try to take advantage of you while you’re down on your luck in order to improve their own stations in life.  They’ll try to make you feel worthless and hopeless and they will do shitty things to set you back.

Be like the old man.  Try to steer your hypothetical boat away from them, fight them off if left with no choice and if they do get the upper hand, just take a deep breath, calm down, then go back to work on trying to solve your problem.  Do not be deterred from your ultimate goal.

Knowledge of Your Success is Its Own Reward

People struggle with their own internal plights all day.  They rarely, if ever, advertise to the world what’s bugging them.  That person you know who seems like he has it all together might very well be a basket case on the inside.

The villagers are generally aware that the old man is going through a rough patch, but it’s doubtful that anyone other than Manolin, the old man’s little buddy, knows how badly the old man’s pride has been wounded.

Thus, when you do reach your goal, it is unlikely that anyone is going to throw a big party, or parade, or celebration in your honor.  Even worse, you might get what you were always after only to have life pull a George RR Martin (maybe Hemingway was GRRM before GRRM) and do something totally unexpected that tanks your victory – i.e. you finally catch that fat ass fish…only for a bunch of sharks to do a drive-by on it.

Throughout the story, we await the victory moment.  We yearn for the old man to arrive on the dock and show everyone who ever doubted him his giant fish.  He gets it, of sorts, as he is able to bring the skeleton, so everyone knows he’s not a failure anymore…but he doesn’t get the joy of bringing that big fish ashore for everyone to see, posing for a photo with it, carving it up and getting a big fat stack of cash for it.

But he’s cool with it.  The old man is very zen.  He knows he won his own personal war against failure.  He’s content.  At peace.  His pride is intact once more.

So, one day you might finally no longer desire booze anymore…or you might finally land that dream job.  Don’t be offended if everyone doesn’t drop what they are doing and lead a parade in your honor.  Everyone is too busy with their own problems.  Find inner peace with yourself.  Be content that you know you won your personal battle.  If no one will be your cheerleader, then be your own.

Appreciate Those Who Don’t Stop Believing in You/When You Can, Help Those Who Helped You When You Needed Help

Manolin, a young boy, was once the old man’s helper, fetching his fishing equipment and cutting his bait and all that bullshit.  However, his parents have demanded the he drop the old man and find a luckier fisherman to help.  Sigh.  Haters gonna hate.

But even though Manolin goes to work for another fisherman, he still drops by the old man’s house, bringing him food, newspapers, and words of encouragement.

Yes, when you lose for a long time, you’re going to get the losing stink attached to you.  Some people, like Manolin’s parents, will steer clear of you for fear your loser stench will rub off on them or their kid.

Still, if there is someone who still believes in you or hell, even if they secretly don’t believe in you but are kind enough to pretend like they do…be there for that person, help them if you can, and appreciate them back.

Whereas we evil modern day people would probably catch a giant fish and lord it all over everyone who ever doubted us, then spend all our fish money on titties and beer, one gets the sense that the old man is not like that at all.  Early in the story, he talks about wanting to help the people who have helped him.  He talks about how if he catches a fish, he will share it with those who gave him food when he couldn’t afford to eat.

Bottomline – if you do solve your problem, try to pay the world back and help others solve their problems.  You got off the booze?  Good.  Help someone else get off the booze. You found that dream job?  Awesome.  Help someone who can’t find work find a job.

What a great world it would be if we all help each other.

Make Memories While You Can…and Hang Onto Them

The old man wasn’t always a failure.  Arguably, no one in his village even thinks of him as a failure – just that he’s an old man who is past his prime and his best days are behind him.

But the old man did some shit in his day.  He had a wife.  She’s dead and he puts her picture face down because he starts to miss her if he looks at her.  Also, he once worked on a boat that sailed across the world.  His travels took him to Africa, where he saw lions fighting and playing on the beach – lions so rare to see that it’s like staring at unicorn or something.

And, one time, the old man participated in an arm wrestling bout with an opponent so fierce that the match lasted an entire day – and he came out the winner and ended up as the toast of Casablanca.

One day you will get old and you won’t be able to do things like you used to.  The older you get, the less opportunity you have – so stop feeling sorry for yourself and start getting to work on making your dreams reality.

Ask that hot babe out for a date.  Go on that dream vacation you’ve been putting off.  Go to that rock concert.  One day, when you’re old, the memories of what you did will be in your mind and will give you some solace and peace.  Whenever the old man feels sad, he remembers how awesome it was to see those lions and to have once been an arm wrestling champ.

Don’t forget to keep making memories for as long as you’re still kicking.  The old man might not be able to arm wrestle or visit Africa anymore, but he will no doubt be consoled by the memory of his big fish catch for whatever time he has left.

Don’t Kick Yourself for Your Mistakes…Learn from Them

Throughout the story, the old man makes a number of blunders.  He doesn’t bring enough water or food.  He didn’t expect to catch a fish that would fight him for days.  He didn’t bring a weapon to fight sharks.

But that’s ok.  He thinks on his feet and improvises.  He crafts a shark fighting weapon out of what he has on the boat.  He rations his water so he doesn’t drink it all.  He catches some smaller fish and eats them raw – gross, but better than starvation.

Then, when he gets back, he talks with his buddy Manolin and makes preparations.  Next time I’ll need a badass anti-shark weapon.  Next time I’ll need extra food and water.  You get the impression that the old man has learned from his encounter with the big fish and the sharks, and perhaps if he is ever put into this position again, he’ll know exactly how to fend off those sharks and protect his fish.

Don’t get down on yourself for your mistakes.  Learn from them.  Do better next time.

You stopped for a drink because you just couldn’t avoid stopping at that bar you like on the way home from work?  OK.  That was stupid.  Realize it was dumb, then move on.  Take a different route home next time, one that doesn’t pass a bar.  Can’t find a route that doesn’t go pass that bar?  Hell, walk in and politely tell the bartender you’re a booze fiend and beg him not to serve you.  Better yet, tell a loved one about this problem.  Ask them to check on you at a certain time.  Perhaps the embarrassment of being at the bar when they call will keep you out of the bar.

Did you screw up that job interview?  Did you say the wrong thing?  Make a note to not say that thing the next time.  Did your potential employee find your resume lacking?  Find out why and seek out the experiences your resume requires.

Your Opponent Doesn’t Always Have to Be Your Enemy

The genius of Hemingway is you don’t just feel bad for the old man…you also feel bad for the fish.  You get the sense that while this old man is playing out his own real life drama, trying to catch a fish after a long dry spell, this fish is fighting for his life.  The fish may not be able to vocalize exactly what is going on, but he knows that same shit is transpiring, and if he doesn’t keep trying to break free of this hook in his piehole, he’s going to end up on a plate as the old man’s dinner.

So it’s two titans, locked in a struggle, one for pride, the other for his life.  Perhaps the fish’s fight is even more sympathetic than the old man’s.  At one point, the old man even goes so far as to tell the fish that he loves him and he’s sorry that he has to kill him…and he means it.  It’s not the heatstroke talking.

Not every opponent is your enemy.  There are limited resources in the world.  You can’t expect that people won’t try to get the same thing you want.

That person who applied for the job you wanted is a competitor, but not necessarily the enemy.  You don’t have to hate this person.  If he gets the job over you, be respectful and move on.  You don’t need to call him a dick.  If the situation were reversed and you got the job over him, you wouldn’t want him to call you a dick.

If you’re fighting alcoholism, your old booze buddies will most likely try to drag you down.  “Come on, come out with us, one little drink won’t hurt.”  There’s a lot of psychology behind this.  Most likely, they really do enjoy your company and are afraid of losing you if you lose the love of booze you once shared with them.  Or, quite possibly, they regret their own inability to get sober and will try to sabotage you because it will become less easy for them to believe that quitting is impossible (thus they are blameless for the own addiction) if they see you succeed.

Just keep on, keeping on.  Try not to hate those people. Just see them as obstacles in your path.  If they won’t get out of the way, you must go around them.  No need to argue or fight but if they can’t respect your wishes then they can’t be in your life anymore.  You need to keep moving towards sobriety.

Conclusion

If you’re life’s been flushed down the shitter, it’s not too late to pull yourself out of the bowl.  The old man did it and you can do.  Read this classic tale whenever you are feeling sorry for yourself.  Personally, I feel sorry that you have nothing better to do than read this awful, awful blog.

 

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Literary Poop with Professor Nannerpants – Analysis Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Professor Horatio J. Nannerpants, Professional Simian Literary Professor/Semi-Professional Poop Flinger

Oh, 3.5 readers!  Get thee to Europe to see the glory of what once was.  The statues, the brilliant architecture and of course, the fine cuisine.  It’s all so lovely that it almost breaks my heart when I lose control and throw my poop all over it.

Yes, in this land rife with history, there are all sorts of lessons to be learned about history and culture, stories of monarchs who have come and gone.  And you’ll even find such tales written into various antiquities the world over, even in, say, Egypt.

Have you set a goal for yourself, 3.5 students?  Is it a big project?  Perhaps it’s causing you a great deal of anxiety.  In times such as these, I highly recommend flinging your poop against the wall.  I know it calms me right down, though I presume it creates all sorts of untoward feelings inside the poor individual who must clean up the poop.

Oh well.  That’s not my problem, for I am much, much too important to clean up poop.

Not only is life short and full of poop, but eventually, everything you do or say or even accomplish will, as a basic matter of fact, turn into poop.  Such is the point of Ozymandias, the old poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley:

“I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Pardon my French, 3.5 students, but that Percy Bysshe Shelley was one morose motherfucker.  To paraphrase the immortal Ben Affleck’s line delivered in that most seminal work, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, it’s as if someone shit in Percy’s breakfast cereal.

But the man has a point.  The poet speaks of Ozymandias, better known as Ramses II, the mightiest of all Egyptian pharaohs.

Ozymandias believed in himself so righteously that he had himself preserved in a giant statue.  The engraving boasts of Ozymandias’ power and warns other mighty kings to “look upon” his works “and despair.”

Despair about what?  All the broken statue pieces and shit littering the dessert sands?

What is Percy getting at?  The fragile nature of life.  Maybe one day you’ll accomplish as much as a great Egyptian pharaoh, but sooner or later, the poop will hit the fan.  You’ll kick the bucket and all the material possessions you acquired will end up broken and rotting underneath the sand, or dirt, depending on where your shit is doing its rotting.

Now, don’t get Percy wrong.  I don’t think he’s coming right out and saying, “Give the eff up.  Smoke a bone and stop trying because we’re all screwed anyway.”

I mean, it’s still pretty awesome that Ozymandias managed to do so many great things that he was eventually preserved in the form of a giant ass statue.  Sure, you can mock him, but it’s not like you ever did anything that led to your immortalization in a statue.

The lesson?  Do try, for there may be awesome rewards.  However, if you fail, don’t beat yourself up too badly about it.  After all, this is all turning to poop sooner or later.

Is there something you’re trying to achieve, 3.5 students?  Do you worry that one day it will all turn to poop?  Fling your poopy thoughts in the comments.

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Text of “If” by Rudyard Kipling

EDITORIAL NOTE: Hey 3.5 readers.  BQB here.  Professor Nannerpants is busy sipping champagne with royalty in Monte Carlo, but he says this poem will be your next homework assignment.  So check it out and leave your thoughts about what it all means in the comments.

“If”

By: Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

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Literary Poop with Professor Nannerpants – Analysis of “Dreams” by Langston Hughes

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Professor Horatio J. Nannerpants, Professional Simian Literary Professor/Semi-Professional Poop Flinger

Ah, hello again 3.5 students.  How splendid to see you are still taking time out of your busy schedules to read literature.  Books are food for the mind you know.

Just be sure to find an equal amount of time to fling your poop.  In fact, I dare pose this brain teaser to you:

If a poop is left unflung, was it ever really pooped to begin with?

I’ll let that nugget simmer in your mental stew.  In the meantime, it is Black History Month and thus a time of year where we literary scholars are reminded to peruse the contributions of African American poets and writers to the cultural zeitgeist.  Google “zeitgeist,” 3.5 students, I swear it is a real word.

In this humble professor’s opinion, these contributions must be studied all year long.  In fact, based on conversations I have had with one Mr. Bookshelf Q. Battler, the former proprietor of this blog before Ms. Video Game Rack Fighter won custody of this blog and its 3.5 readers in a divorce case, BQB is particularly fond of this poem:

Dreams

By: Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Eight lines.  Like your humble professor, this poem is short and sweet.  And yet, if you delve deeper into these words, you’ll find so much meaning.

When we’re children, the world is our oyster.  Technically speaking, no outcome is impossible for a child because children possess so much of the most crucial of resources: time.  A forty year old drive-through worker who tells you he wishes to be an NBA basketball player, or an Academy Award winning actor, or an astronaut has the odds against him.  This person may, in theory, be very capable, but he just does not have the time to make such achievements.

On the other hand, a ten year old who tells you he wishes to do all of these things does have the time.  Statistically speaking, the child will, upon reaching adulthood, realize the lesson that many learn, namely, that life is hard, that resources are limited, that there is just too much competition for too few opportunities.  However, until that child comes to that realization, the world is a happy place in his eyes.

I hesitate to put words into Mr. Hughes’ mouth but your professor has a take on the meaning of this poem.  It’s quite simple.  Ignore the realization of the statistically unlikely probability that you will not achieve your big dreams.

Yes, you know in your heart and in your brain that at forty, you will not become an astronaut, but keep looking for the stars and studying astronomy books in the hopes that you might make it happen.

No, you most likely will not take home a gold statue.  Audition for a part in your community theater’s horrendously tacky play anyway.

No, you aren’t going to be drafted by the NBA.  Don’t let that stop you from playing pick up games with your friends.

Take Mr. Battler for instance.  He is well aware that he has a better chance of being struck in the ass by lightning a second time (we all know this happened to him a first time) than he does at becoming a successful writer.

Does he let that stop him? No.  Why?  Because he knows if he stops writing, he will be left with nothing else to look forward to.  He’ll while away his hours watching television, playing video games, stuffing his suck hole with ding dongs, never, ever doing anything productive.

One might even say that at that point, Mr. Battler’s life will be like “a broken-winged bird that cannot fly” or even “a barren field frozen with snow.”

Mr. Battler’s life, without his precious, absurdly difficult to obtain dream, would become hopeless, just as hopeless as a bird who has tasted the joys of flight but will never experience it again…just as hopeless as a field that can’t be utilized for crops because the soil has gone bad and frozen over.

Do you want to feel as hopeless as a broken-winged bird or a barren, frozen field, 3.5 students?  No?  Good.  Then I don’t care how hopeless it seems.  I don’t care if you are ninety and you dream of becoming the next top pop star, you get your old, wrinkly ass to the garage and start squeezing your backside into a pair of tight pants, then start shaking your booty.

No, you will never replace Katy Perry.  Yes, you need to hope that you will in order to get through the day.

And there you have it.  Another fine example of our beloved English language, expertly explained by your all-knowing professor.

Are you pursuing a dream that is unlikely just to keep your life from become a broken-winged bird or a barren, frozen field?  Share your thoughts and fling your poop in the comments.

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Literary Poop with Professor Nannerpants – Of Mice and Men Analysis

 

shutterstock_282195503Professor Horatio J. Nannerpants, Noted Literary Scholar, Banana Biter and Poop Flinger

Good day and a belated Happy New Year to you, 3.5 readers.

I would have written sooner but I am currently enjoying a sojourn in Paris.  Ahh, gay Par-ee. There’s nothing like taking a nice stroll, checking out the exquisite works of art in the Louvre, and getting a fresh croissant and a frothy espresso.  Personally, I prefer to choose a nice, quiet, hole in the wall cafe where I can collect my thoughts and write them down in my journal.

After that, I fling my poop everywhere.  Occasionally, people complain but I simply tell them I’m engaging in an avant garde piece of performance art and they leave me alone.  The French will always bend over backwards, both in bed and in life, just to avoid stifling your creativity.

Today our lecture will be about John Steinbeck’s seminal work, Of Mice and Men.  Of all the books about a jaded, angry prick forced to care for a giant dope with a penchant for snapping the necks of loose women, this is by far the finest.

While the novel itself is short, it begs many questions.  The one we will discuss today may be posed as follows:

Do the friends and family who rely on us lift us up or drag us down?

If you did the assigned reading (and please fling some poop at yourself if you didn’t), you are aware that George and Lenny are a pair of traveling ranch hands.  George is tasked with being Lenny’s caretaker, an unenviable job to be sure, as Lenny, due to his massive size and strength (and lack of the brains necessary to control it) ends up accidentally wreaking havoc where ever he goes.

Thus, George is never able to settle down anywhere because before he knows it, Lenny has cocked up a good job and he and Lenny must flee out of town before Lenny gets drawn and quartered by the latest person this giant has inadvertently pissed off with his clumsy, numbskull ways.

It is natural for humans to dream and yearn for lives that are difficult to achieve.  When we fail to obtain what our hearts desire, it is also natural for us to lash out at those around us. “If you hadn’t done this, I could have done that” becomes a constant refrain in households across the globe.

However, before we chastise one another, we should take a step back and consider whether or not our lives would be any better if we were on our own, devoid of the person who drives us crazy.

The reader gets a sense that babysitting Lenny is a tremendous burden for George.  In many ways, it is.  Yet, keep in mind that at one point in the novel, George gives us a glimpse into what he would be doing if he didn’t have to take care of Lenny:

“God a’mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy. I could go get a job an’ work, an’ no trouble. No mess at all, and when the end of the month come I could take my fifty bucks and go into town and get whatever I want. Why, I could stay in a cathouse all night. I could eat any place I want, hotel or any place, and order any damn thing I could think of. An’ I could do all that every damn month. Get a gallon of whisky, or set in a pool room and play cards or shoot pool… An’ whatta I got … I got you! You can’t keep a job and you lose me ever’ job I get. Jus’ keep me shovin’ all over the country all the time.”

– George Milton in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men

So, to recap, if George didn’t have Lenny in his life, he’d be blowing his hard earned money on hookers, booze, gambling and hotel room service.  Way to dream big, George.  Way to dream big, indeed.

I can’t say as I blame George.  I’ve been known to enjoy a good night of hookers, booze, gambling and hotel food myself, from time to time.  I just turn the hotel food into poop that I fling later.

But I digress.  Think about that person in your life who drives you crazy.  Is this person dragging you down or lifting you up?  Would you really be doing any better without this person?  Perhaps caring for this person gives you a purpose.  Idle hands are, as the old saying goes, the devil’s handiwork.

In short, you might like to think you’d be doing great things without a person who depends on you, but you never know.  Maybe you’d just be blowing your dough on hookers and booze.  Perhaps caring for another person is, though not ideal, the more respectable way to spend your time.

Towards the end of the novel, George, Lenny and the elderly ranch hand Candy hatch a plan to pool their money and buy a little place of their own.

Sure, they’re three assholes who can’t get anywhere near a cooter without paying for it, but they hope to become an oddball family of sorts.  These three assholes will work their own land, reap their own rewards and if they want to take a break and watch a ball game, they can without the boss bitching them out.  Even better, since it will just be them, there will be nothing for Lenny to screw up royally.

In theory, co-owning a small farm with two other dudes would be a more respectable life for George than chasing hookers and drinking booze and, though it is unclear if he ever realizes it, it is a life that he would not pursue if he did not feel the pressure of finding Lenny a place to live where he can’t accidentally snap necks with his stupid giant hands.

In the above quote, George is given a clear opportunity to tell us what he would do without Lenny.  He does not tell us that he’d be Dr. George or Senator George.  He tells us that’s he’d be hooker patron George.  Thus, he is, in theory, better off with Lenny because at least with Lenny, he aspires to be small farm owner George.

Here’s where things get dicey.  The “Lenny is good for George” argument falls apart when Lenny accidentally snaps the neck of Curley’s Wife while he is petting her hair.

In addition to this being a horrific tragedy, it also becomes clear that George can never have any real kind of a life as Lenny’s caretaker as Lenny is so big and stupid that he will inevitably FUBAR everything he comes into contact with.  Even George’s desired life as a hooker patronizing gambler/hotel food eater would be better than having to drag this giant sack of crap around the countryside, constantly on the run whenever Lenny screws the pooch.

So in the end, the question posed in this lecture is not a simple one.  Only you know how difficult the person you are taking of is.

Perhaps this person lifts you up without realizing it.  Perhaps your life would lack purpose without him/her.  Maybe you’d become a degenerate prostitute customer/gambler/alcoholic/hotel food eater.  Maybe you’re wrong about your role as a caretaker and maybe you should give this person you are caring for a break.

Then again, you could totally be right and this person you are saddled with is a total assbag who drags you down at every turn and you’d be so much better off with this person, even five expensive minutes with an STD infested lady of the evening and a gross, refried hotel steak burnt till it resembles a coaster would be a preferable alternative.

In that case, you might consider telling this difficult person goodbye.  Do just say goodbye.  Don’t solve the problem with a revolver as George did.

I suppose I should clarify.  If we’re talking about a mentally capable person who is just being an asshole to you, then yes, say goodbye.

If we’re talking about a mentally unstable Lenny type person, then obviously you can’t just abandon this person.  Luckily though, in today’s modern age, there are all kinds of programs and professionals that can help you take care of this person.  Be glad this isn’t the 1930s and that you aren’t George and the only option you can turn to is a gat.

As a reminder, BQB’s attorney asks me to tell you that this blog’s proprietor does not endorse shooting people.  You probably realized that already but we live in a litigious society where crooked lawyers rule the day so everything needs to be spelled out.

What observations do you have, 3.5 readers?  Fling your poop in the comments.  Class dismissed.

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Literary Poop with Professor Nannerpants – Analysis of Walden by Henry David Thoreau

By: Professor Horatio J. Nannerpants, Literary Scholar/Simian Poop Flinger

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Good morrow, 3.5 readers.

My word, it has been ages since I have thrown anything at you, be it literary wisdom, fecal matter, or otherwise.

I have been so busy with life that I simply forgot this blog existed. (This is an easy feat seeing as it only has 3.5 readers.)

Ahh, how fortuitous that I should mention the hustle and bustle of life when the author I wish to discuss today gave up the turmoil of civilization to live a scant existence in the woods.

In the mid-1850s, Henry David Thoreau transported himself to Walden Pond in order to scale back his life and live in the woods.

Thoreau explained it best and I cannot do any better than he:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”

Oh life, how quickly you move. Why, 1980s scholar Ferris Bueller famously opined that “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop once in awhile, you might miss it.”

But long before Ferris, Thoreau was even able to grasp that mankind was so wrapped up in the day to day grind of life that few ever stopped to enjoy life itself.

Observe Thoreau’s true passion for mortality here. “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”

Imagine life as a juicy steak. Thoreau loved his life steak so much that eating the meat wasn’t enough. He wanted to suck on the bones and get the little bit of sustenance inside of them as well.

Oh, 3.5 readers. We are all guilty of not appreciating life, aren’t we?

Yes, we have so many hopes and dreams and then before you know it you’re a middle-aged chimpanzee teaching at night classes for imbeciles at a community college and spending your free time writing columns for addle brained readers of WordPress book blogs that rarely, if ever, feature a book review.

Not you guys. You guys are great.

WHAT IF LIFE IS TOO HARD?

Millennials, I hate to pile on to the abuse you take from society, but yes, with your “safe spaces” and your “trigger warnings” and your overall attempts to baby proof your entire lives, you truly are the worst.

You may be inclined to think that if your life is difficult then it should provide you little enjoyment. Thus, you shouldn’t be bothered seeking any.

Wrong! Thoreau tells us:

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”

You only get one life, 3.5 readers. After that, it is kaputsville. Would you rather spend that life in a French villa surrounded by super models?  I wouldn’t it. They’re not very hairy and they never enjoy a good poop fling.

But perhaps that sounds interesting to you human weirdoes.

Ultimately, just as Thoreau points out, the sun shines on a poor house just as it does as a rich one. Even in your darkest times and lowliest hours, happiness can be found.

Are you experiencing as much happiness as you’d like? No. Does that mean you should just forego happiness then? Of course not. Why does everyone have this ridiculous “all or nothing” attitude?

3.5 readers, I confess even during that very depressing time period I spent trapped in a cage as one of Dr. Hugo Von Science’s lab chimps, I would still find the time to cheer myself up by throwing a turd nugget at the good doctor’s head.

He would then attach electrodes to my cranium and zap me with thousands of volts but it was worth it.

Ahh, good times. “Memories, like the corners of my mind,” as Babs Streisand would say.

3.5 readers, I see the curtain being pulled on my lecture here, so allow me to leave you with a final question:

IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ONE TO ACHIEVE HIS/HER DREAMS THROUGH HARD WORK?

It is difficult to say.  Many have given their dreams their all and come up with nothing but poop in their hands. (Never a better time to become a poop flinger I say.)

Others have given their dreams little effort.  Hell, that sexy human you just saw in a movie probably got her start by walking around looking hot and some Hollywood agent casted her.

All I can do is speak from experience.

As I wasted away in that lab cage, I dreamed of becoming a world renowned literary scholar.

And so I worked.  And I studied. And I posed as a tiny man with a hairy overgrowth problem until I was hired to be a renowned literary professor.

And then I allowed myself to become associated with this foolish blog.  So discredited was I that it is now community college for me forever.

Sigh. Community college.  Don’t get me started.

I can’t answer the inquiry.  But here’s what Thoreau said on the matter:

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

If you put hard work into your dreams, are they achievable 3.5 readers?

What say you?

Fling your poop in the comments.

Class dismissed.

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