Don't get excited. We'll get to Total Recall in a moment.
I've had a trouble concentrating for the last month or so. I blamed a dopamine deficiency. I blamed cabin fever. I blamed a sedentary lifestyle, a bad diet, ill-fitting shoes, barometric pressure, antisemitism, the Jews, the disconcerting worldwide indifference in contemporary discourse to the possibility of the religious correctness of Orthodox Judaism -- what if they really are God's chosen people? -- and my abject lack of a Posturepedic bed.
But I'm done blaming my problems on other people. Because who's to blame? Henry James is to blame.
Late-period Henry James comes at my brain like a scurvy dervish and pelts it into submission. I am infrequently, literally driven into a fetal position on the bed while I piss and moan and wail softly to myself about the prospect of trying to read a few hundred more three-page paragraphs that are about as sequitur as a Monty Python skit. Henry James makes me piss the bed. Good thing it's not a Sealy.
His books have the same effect on my interpretive faculties as this picture, minus the giddiness.
Which is to say, they pummel them into submission. What the fuck, WHAT THE FUCK. This can't be happening!
In a desperate bid to concentrate harder, better, faster, stronger, I have been driven to read articles on the internet about brain enhancement. Memory enhancement. Concentration exercises. Breast implants. Did you know that there was a study wherein people were directed to think about exercising their biceps for 15 minutes a day, and, 3 months later, their arms were 13% stronger, sans exercise? I didn't, but then I did, because I read an article about it that sapped me of 10 valuable minutes that I could have spent reading two pages of Henry James. All in the service, you understand, of reading Henry James more efficiently. I've smoked 9 cigarettes in my non-smoking apartment because smoke-breaks are, in a very real sense, a way not to read Henry James.
Here's how bad it's gotten. I've romantically reminisced about the times I've watched Total Recall. Sat there, thinking, I remember watching Total Recall.
I want so badly to watch Total Recall, but I can't, because that's valuable time I could be spending in more active pursuit of avoiding my responsibility to read Henry James.
I tried to fall asleep to Total Recall last night, but I couldn't because I was too captivated by it. I had to turn it off. Henry James cost me even that. My last shred of dignity? Perhaps.
Total Recall is one of the more impressive movies ever made, says I, because there's not a single sequence that goes by without the least plausible thing that could possibly happen, happening. "We've got another schizoid embolism!" screams a lady doctor. Schwarzenegger tries to smuggle himself onto Mars in an old lady fat-suit, but it can, for no reason that could possibly be justified by the plot or anything else, only say "two weeks," so it has a seizure and reveals this hysterically unpassable animatronic version likeness of Arnie.
It's like somebody left the wax dummy in the back seat on a SoCal summer day and it melted and flowed four inches downhill before an intern found it. Probably cost the poor bastard his job. But that's might not even be as bad as it gets. Total Recall features some of the all-time worst movie magic, and I mean that in the best possible way.
Do you see what Henry James is keeping me from? I have six (6) pages of The Ambassadors to go. Before I'm finished. If it were any other book I hated this much, I would be ecstatic. I would be standing on my hands in front of the Washington Monument, which is what I always do to celebrate -- as seen here.
But I'm not. I'm not standing on my hands in front of the Washington Monument. Because I'm the longest half-hour of my life away from having stared the devil in the face and come away. Oh, sure, I'll come away. But you don't come away from something like that without something in your soul twisting, corrugating, turning green and septic. I am killing myself to live. I am killing myself back to life. My brain is dying so that my body can be free of this unutterable burden. My heart is being gnawed away like so much fox leg caught in a bear trap. I want to live! I am the resurrection, and I prove only the horror of that which is to come. To come, to come, l'avenir -- The Golden Bowl and Wings of the Dove. I must away, I must piss the bed and gnaw off my leg.
Henry James is Keith Olbermann's Worst Person Ever. He fucking should be anyway. If he were still alive, I'd burn his house down.