culture

The desire to make things clean and tidy in the springtime seems to be an almost biological urge. Like most biological urges, it should be resisted. Spring may be the season of renewal and new beginnings, but there’s no point in going mad about it. The energy and optimism we feel at this time of year shouldn’t be wasted on dull domestic tasks.

Easter is the season of bunnies, and chocolate eggs, and weddings. Like the opening day of baseball it signals that the wedding season has started and play can begin. Marriage is still quite popular, and will never die out I’m sure as long as there are weddings, although I suspect that the desire to have a wedding is sometimes much stronger than the desire to have a marriage. So the traditional family is safe as long as the fifty billion dollar a year wedding industry continues to flourish.

Toward the end of his adoring tribute to Mary Astor, the villainess star of The Maltese Falcon, the famous cartoonist Edward Sorel explains his half-century infatuation with Mary as just another odd couple. “Why did Frederik Chopin fall for a woman who smoked cigars?” he asks. And “Why would Donald Trump, who prides himself on his good taste, fall in love with Donald Trump?” In other words, don’t ask.  

We have all been the victims of proverbial wisdom, particularly when we were children. A large part of the job of parenting is to bombard one’s offspring with warnings and advice in the form of easily remembered clichés posing as absolute truths. My mother was very fond of these, and had a large collection of them as perhaps mothers still do: it never rains but it pours; all’s well that ends well; still waters run deep; silence is golden; the devil makes work for idle hands. Well, that last one may be true.

Ann Lopez / WSHU

The door to hell stands under a fluorescent light in an alley in Queens. The devil himself showed me.

This is how Ricardo Henriquez begins his first novel, The Catcher’s Trap.

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