My brain doesn’t work. My reading brain, that is.
I can make coffee, change diapers, and play with my son and his Thomas the Train set. But that’s about it. It’s a bloody shame, too, as I’m “reading,” or doing something that resembles staring at words, The Age of Innocence at the moment.
All those angels and paragon of animals wasted on me!
So I went to the doctor. She knows me well. What’s up, she asked.
I don’t feel myself, I said. Malaise.
Fever, she asked, and touched my forehead.
No, she agreed.
Energy, she asked.
Sex, she asked.
I paused. Yeah, right, I said, with mock condescension.
Hmm, likely a cold or maybe even influenza. Nothing to worry about though.
I can’t read, I sighed.
She sprang into action. You just bought yourself a comprehensive blood panel, she said.
So there you have it: the sign of malady par excellence.
Any doctor whose hierarchy of symptoms reaches its apex at the loss of reading passion is a doctor worth her weight in Hippocratic gold.
Lastly, even if you’re a Blooming stud at Shakespeare, the allusion of the post’s title will probably miss the mark. That’s my bad. So here’s the passage that provides context and, I hope, keeps this excessively lame effort of mine on the side of literary respectability.
What a piece of work is a man!
How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties,
in form and moving how express and admirable,
in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!
And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man
delights not me—no, nor woman neither….