When I was about six years old, and too young to make an effective protest, one of my more severe aunts gave me a set of four gramophone records, seventy-eights. These were not for entertainment, but were intended to teach a moral lesson: don't cheat.
It was only a matter of time before yet another version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty made it on to the big screen. I haven’t seen the movie with Ben Stiller, but I don’t need to. Walter Mitty has entered the realm of mythology, and his story is as universal as a love story. Everybody knows it, and everybody lives it.
Twelfth Night, January 5th, marks the end of the Christmas festivities. By midnight last night the decorations should have been taken down, the cards put away, and the final traces of the holiday removed.
It won’t be a Happy New Year on Wednesday unless we have provided ourselves with one essential life-enhancing item: an appointment book. Some people call them agenda books, or diaries, but I don’t have an agenda and gave up keeping a diary years ago when I realized that everything was repetition. I always buy the same kind of appointment book, not so small as to reduce my life to insignificance and not so huge as to suggest an excess of self-importance. Five by seven inches is about right, with seven days visible at a time. One week we can manage.
At this dark, cold time of year, when the Holidays seem to promise some extra leisure time, and the Holiday specials on television make it too painful to watch television, it’s comforting to think that we still have the old-fashioned option of sinking into an armchair by the fire and enjoying a good long read. That phrase "A good long read" was often spoken with nostalgia by my busy parents. It was something they dreamed about, but rarely achieved except around Christmastime and on summer vacations.