May 6, 2007

Before I start knocking people's hats off

It's getting that time of the year when these words from Melville's Moby Dick come into my head...
"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball."
I reread at least portions of Moby Dick every year. Been doing that probably since I first read the Classics Illustrated comic version ( as series that sent me on to many classics in the library) I always find something I missed. But that passage hits me when the weather in New Jersey finally warms up to the point that I think I can catch my beloved Jersey Shore on a breeze and I feel the need to drive south and just get my feet in the sand and watch the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

If you haven't read Moby Dick (ever or lately), you should give it a try. You can read it online at Project Guttenberg - though I can't really imagine anyone being able to do that, it's a great way to look at sections of the book.

If you don't want to pay for an audiobook version, you can also get download the free Librivox version online.

And if all else fails, at least watch the John Huston movie version with a script by Ray Bradbury instead of knocking off hats or the pistol & ball.