05 June 2017

How Leisure Came

How Leisure Came

A Man to Whom Time Was Money, and who was bolting his breakfast in order to catch a train, had leaned his newspaper against the sugar-bowl and was reading as he ate.  In his haste and abstraction he stuck a pickle-fork into his right eye, and on removing the fork the eye came with it.  In buying spectacles the needless outlay for the right lens soon reduced him to poverty, and the Man to Whom Time Was Money had to sustain life by fishing from the end of a wharf.

- 30 -

This is some of Bierce at his best. You could almost imagine a scene where Bierce wrote the body and asked Hemingway what the title should be, and Ernest said "The Birth of Leisure". Bierce liked it, but in his obsession with concision went with How Leisure Came. I loved Bierce as a child, and I do mean wee bairn, my appreciation has only increased.

The applicability to the first hundred days, now past, of the current Administration does seem to bear a modern reflection of Bierce's imagery and absurdity. Now, not every member of the Trump administration is unfamiliar with Constitutional law and what Article 2 vests in the President (hint: all executive power), so they should have been swinging at the "travel ban" as a fat, middle-of-the-plate, home run derby pitched ball. And maybe they did. Maybe this is all just virtue-signaling. Ditto "repeal-and-replace". Maybe it's all really just kabuki and no one gives a good goddamn about symbolic shit like "Muslim ban!" or tilting at windmills like promising 72 registered nurses in the health care afterlife that will be after they get the budgeting and exchanges and how it'll all be paid for figured out (I don't *know* the big picture, but there are several dollars devoted to nothing particularly productive in the "defense" budget to be had). It makes for good entertainment, if you have the stomach for it. I will leave you with new take on A Man for Whom Time was Money...

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