In the darkness of the winter, in the light of lamps there shine the art deco lineaments of the accordion: its shape and decorations, its curves and diamonds, its modernity and luxury, its simplicity and ornamentation. It is like those times: the lavish life of the 19th century and the streamlining effect of mechanization. On the front the word: Titano—the big guy. It rests in a velvet case. The velvet pours over the front and into the light, a promise of that most pleasant sound.
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I have had my obligatory dose of turkey so that I may further refuse any other such attempts for the remainder of the year. It is a curious thing to think about, isn’t it, how much people like that meal? It goes to show how great a role the imagination plays in the enjoyment of food that people should look forward to rolls, mashed potatoes, dry bread with spices and grease, green beans or corn or carrots or all of the above indiscriminately commingled, and this ridiculous dead fowl not quite as good as, say, the chicken or that best of all animals: the pig. Oh, and the cranberries from out of a bog usually rendered into a can-shaped jelly and imaginatively served up in slices.
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Among the articles of the American Bill of Rights is the right at any time of the year and on the slightest provocation to run a fan. I was thinking of this when I was reflecting on how much I hate fans. When it is hot, there is nothing for it; you have to have fans. It is the heat’s fault and it ought to be hated for forcing the fan on a person. I do not waste my time hating anything but the real culprit at such moments. And I have to admit that plush carpeting and central air-conditioning when one is in Texas is a peculiar and unrivaled luxury—and one I have seldom enjoyed. It is the sort of luxury of the lay-z-boy, with all aesthetic notions swallowed up by comfort much as modesty often swallows up all aesthetic meliorations in some person’s sense of proper attire.
I love the tick of the water warming the radiator in the winter; but I hate the blowing hot air, the roar of a fan, the hum of a fan, anything to do with the constant and intrusive noise of the fan and the perverse notion that anything other than the winds have the right to shift bodies of air from here to there. Even the noiseless fans are not unobtrusive, and I think it is the artificiality of it, the resort to a machine. I find myself wondering if the house cannot be cooled or aired rather by boiling a lot of hot water on the stove with some scented stuff or just plain healthy water and then opening the windows to cool all the vapor down or other circuitous and laborious way to get around the annoyance of this American right to have a fan pointed directly at oneself at any time or place.
Or hanging from the ceiling. I’ve never known any of them to do any good and they look terrible, these fans hanging from the ceiling with their dangling parts, their clusters of lights, their unbenignant lights.
You see them at work, the fans. Some people can’t work without having a fan a foot from their heads. Some of them can’t sleep without the constant noise of it. I admit the fan is pleasant on rare occasions, it just seems to me it is made much of, like the turkey which has not been known to be pleasant on any occasion.
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The noble, stalwart, and half-starved persons who first celebrated Thanksgiving, of course, were grateful to have anything to eat at all. I suppose that goes a long way toward explaining the cuisine that prevails for what could actually a holiday perhaps even characterized by some gratitude. Had they never been in their position—basically starving—they would never have thought to eat the loathsome fowl. Even then, didn’t the savages first bring the fowl along? The gravy probably was invented as some kind of mitigation, a thin and watery attempt at civilization or civilization’s blander proprieties.
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After working at the maudlin reflections yesterday posted and wondering what was wrong with them other than the fact that I should not have bothered to write them to begin with, I have been writing a second instalment on the life and times of one Nutkin, which can be really depressing. Maybe it was the turkey I was unable to avoid working on me, sending on me a dark pall of futility; I’m not sure. One comes away from such occasions questioning the value of life, you know? And then your wife feels it is necessary to turn on some fans.
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There was a bright spot in the day, with the $14 I received from Half-Wit for selling them thirty volumes from my shelves, I luckily found the collected poems of James Stephens. Not, I suppose, that anybody cares.