If you have not already done so, you may wish to read the
Introduction to Gnomica.
Friday 27 July 2012
Read gnomica 1-50 here!
“My formula for living is quite simple.
I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night.
In between, I occupy myself as best I can.”
Cary Grant (18 Jan 1904 – 29 Nov 1986)
No, I never thought of this mahhvelous actor as a great intellect, but that does not mean he never had an idea. It’s hard to find fault with his somewhat reductive but not unreasonable collapsing of twenty-four hours into that précis of a day in the life of … . After all, we do all get up in the morning and go to bed at night (whatever the exact hour of those times of day are in any given case). And although we all do occupy ourselves during those long intervening hours one might well have wanted to learn a little more about how Mr. Suave did “occupy myself as best I can.”
One could conjure up a kind of standardized star routine – learning lines, doing takes at the studio, dating beautiful women, dining out, parties at night. And since our subject did not further elaborate in the cited quotation, such and similar conjurings-up strike me as legitimate enough.
When done with that, one’s thoughts turn to one’s own day. The general formula certainly fits; the specifics that would flesh out the “In between” are of course subject to a remarkable variety of combinations and permutations, and in my own case I forbear even an initial attempt at lists.
I do know, however, that most days “go to bed at night” comes much too soon, and long before I have had the time fully to “occupy myself as best I can.” That appears perhaps to be a disingenuous statement, but it is not. I don’t understand it, but it is an unhappy fact.
Hence, although I appreciate Mr. Grant’s pointed brevity, I fear that “My formula for living is” rather emphatically” not “quite simple.” And this is a function of that interstice: an honest expansion of my day’s stretched-out gap between dawn and dark would be not only lacking in brevity but, as well, rather more flaccidly mushy than pointed.
Am I the only person who feels that way?