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The Great Batsby

February 12, 2012

Wilson’s glazed eyes turned out to the ashheaps, where small gray clouds took on fantastic shape and scurried here and there in the faint dawn wind.

“I spoke to her,” he muttered, after a long silence. “I told her she might fool me but she couldn’t fool God. I took her to the window” —with an effort he got up and walked to the rear window and leaned with his face pressed against it— “and I said ‘God knows what you’ve been doing, everything you’ve been doing. You may fool me, but you can’t fool God!'”

Standing behind him, Michaelis saw with a shock that he was looking at the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, which had just emerged, pale and enormous, from the dissolving night.

“God sees everything,” repeated Wilson.

“That’s an advertisement,” Michaelis assured him.

The abomination pictured above has just gone up a mile from my house, where I’ll have to drive past it every time I exit the freeway to go home.

I’m torn on how to respond. Sell my house? But I just paid good money to fix the plumbing. Deface this monstrosity with a ladder and some spray paint? I don’t much like heights, or jail. Announce to as many Orange Countians as possible that building an ad campaign around the nickname “El Hombre” represents either a slap in Stan Musial’s face (if Albert’s changed his mind about not wanting to be called by that name) or an enormous screw-up on the part of the Angels’ marketing team (if they’ve just insulted their sensitive new star by ignoring his wishes)? Done, but not entirely satisfying.

So, until I figure out a better plan, I’m staying off the roads and re-reading The Great Gatsby, taking solace in its reminders of the perils of excess and the high price of greed.

I’m told there’s something in there about the dangers of jealousy and bitterness, too. But I’ll have plenty of time to explore those themes from my cell.


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