The Harder the Better

By: Michael Fowler

I resolved that instead of making something easier, I would make something harder. — Soren Kierkegaard.

Tried putting on my pants two legs at a time, holding them by the waist and then jumping into them. Ruined three pairs and then gave up, fearing I would soon have nothing to wear to church except my Bermuda shorts.

Wrote through the night with a pen that has a split nib. Ink flowed everywhere, and I had to dip the pen in the well after each word. By morning I was a mass of blue stains and couldn’t read one word of my scribbling. It was great.

Meeting Martensen on the square, I fell in with him, walking backwards as he continued frontwards, so that we proceeded together while facing in opposite directions. My stepping thus appeared to disconcert Martensen, who, however, mentioned only that I was barefoot on the coldest day of the year. Did the icy flagstones not sting my feet? he wished to know. Did they ever! But I said nothing. When we finished our conversation, which concerned Hegel’s use of adverbs, I hopped home on one leg for the heck of it.

Shaved with my left hand this morning. What does the loss of a piece of one’s nose amount to, sub specie aeternitatis?

Forced myself to sing all the hymns at church today in falsetto. This proved painful to my throat, and caused many to fix on me an uncomprehending gaze. But it was more than worth it in soul points.

Read The Phenomenology in my study by propping up the opened book on the windowsill while I sat in a chair twenty feet away. Besides having to squint at the text for all I was worth, I had to cross the room every time I wanted to turn the page. After an hour, I increased the difficulty by placing the book upside down. Hallelujah!

Played two-handed gin with Bishop Mynster at his home this evening. After losing the first five games, the good Bishop took exception to my dealing the cards with my chin, saying it took too long and possibly was cheating. I explained that I did it only to develop my spirit, and he seemed satisfied, but he insisted anyway on looking down my collar for hidden cards. Praise the Lord, none were there tonight.

Paid a prostitute to spread the word that she had lain with me, though she had not. With luck, the story will make it into society, ruin my reputation, and turn my engagement into a long, dismal affair. Indeed, Regine may have to slap me in public to save her good name. Here’s hoping!

In a restaurant, I showed my waitress those items on the menu that I did not want, rather than those I did. She lost patience and left me, sending over a just-hired girl. In future I must remember to pain only myself, and not others. Still, I left no tip.

Took a good, strong laxative before heading out to the theater to see a comedy. Once there, I sat in several wrong seats before an usher finally escorted me to mine. I heard some gratifying tittering at my expense, no doubt about the “disoriented drunken party.” By the middle of the first act I sat folded over in cramp and broke a steady wind. If those around me put it down to merriment, so much the better.

Spent all day Saturday without once opening my eyes. What an unfamiliar place one’s own home becomes when one cannot see! Sustained quite a nasty cut inserting my hand into what I thought was my desk, but was instead my knife drawer. Then I went headlong against some stairs, thinking they should have descended when in fact they ascended. Most embarrassing of all, as I returned from a blind walk, I entered not my home but my neighbor’s, who raised a fuss when I interrupted her bath.

I resolved to raise all my own vegetables, hunt down my own meat, and manufacture my own wine. I decided on venison steak with boiled potatoes for supper, with a nice bottle of chardonnay. I then calculated that by the time I planted, harvested and cooked the potatoes, hunted, killed, cut, seasoned and fried the deer, raised, cultivated, and pressed my grapes, allowed them to ferment into wine, and then bottled the result, it would be six to eight weeks before I had dinner on the table, given luck on the hunt and a good growing season with plenty of sunshine and rain. By then I would most likely have a massive headache from not eating. I gave up in despair and told my manservant to bring me some of last night’s leg of lamb warmed up and a chilled bottle of 1847 Lafitte. Tomorrow I’ll try to forge myself some garden tools.

Swallowed my communion wafer whole without moistening it in my mouth first, then turned blue with choking. Hope you enjoyed it, God.


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