“(Obituaries) are like the knocks of beggarmen, and should not be minded.”
— Flann O’Brien
The people’s bookstore with the cop at the door. An old message for a new year: emancipation from poverty is an expensive proposition. And Adorno’s biography gathers dust under the Wagnerian architrave. I heard when Adorno died (Theodor W., d. Aug.6, 1969) no-one came forward with an obituary. Even his closest friends felt the task was too daunting. Finally, a daschund, reputedly under the protection of Marcuse, coughed this up:
Adorno: piano et cognosi al forno. Buongiorno!
Later, I sit in the car, experiencing an unconvincing angina. It must be the wheat grass, drawing toxins out of deep tissue. Like Christ shaming the putrefied Lazarus out of his hole. It must be the wheat grass. I haven’t time for myocardial infarction just now. As a safeguard I vow to never again have at the ice cream. And the orange chocolates, the dizzying chai soy lattes, the fried Thai peanut satays. But the abnegation leads to gastronomical arousal. Soon, I am at the Italian confectioners, tempted and immediately thwarted by coconut lard. I thought it was merely a spelling error upon the wrapping paper’s otherwise cunning copy: Delicious coconutty slices coated in suet chocolate!
If a cop is at all necessary, it must be at the Italian confectioners, armed if need be, not guarding Adorno’s silent biographic mausoleum.
Earlier, in the religious studies textbook section, I frantically hide used copies of my required anthropology texts among the Ayn Rand collection. I am broke until the sweet loans come in some time in May. If I am killed suddenly by an exploding aorta the apocalypse itself would fail to uncover what I have hidden. The Fountainhead is adorned with spiderwebs, the corpses of silverfish.
In Philosophy, someone has accidentally stocked the top shelf with shining new copies of the Third Policeman. Or was it an accident? Or was it a thing that if we have no name for it then it never happened? Did a staff member commit such a thing that has no name? Or was it the clever pre-law goons, intent upon acts neither legislated nor illoquated? It makes no sense, of course, of course it makes no sense.
I proceed to the poetry section. It has been replaced by a neon-lit Complete Idiot’s Guide display. Some new titles, to be sure, but mostly tired advice regarding insomnia and all-season radials. The bottom shelf stuffed to overflowing with used copies of the Book of Revelation. The middle shelves all smattered with copy after copy of the Celestine Prophesy. But there, dead center: the Idiot’s Guide to Idiots. I reach out…