Geomythograpy of Scholarship March 6, 2012Posted by Mark Folse in 504, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
I want to tell you about geomythography.
No, don’t look it up. It’s not in the dictionary. Geomythography is a term coined by one of my professor’s. Any use or rebroadcast of this term without the express permission of Professor Hazlitt will get you in a hole lot of trouble. Or not.
I think you get the general idea. Let’s start with the geomythograpy of my house. Actually, my house is probably more a subject for physical anthropology than textual analysis, but that will be apparent shortly.
When you walk into my house, you get the immediate impression that a well trained simian has been carefully stacking various pieces of paper into piles to show his native intelligence. Then again it may simply show that, having finished scratching his ass and picking off his lice, he is bored and has nothing better to do than to arrange scholarly articles into neat stacks according to the orientation of the Xerox(1) imnge, and the size of the book copied.
As I have done this and not said simian, it serves to demonstrate the diligent work of a scholar. Either that or I am busy trying not to read the articles, highlighter in hand, to actually do something with them.
I made a point this morning to wipe down the TV tables that serve as end and coffee tables with Clorox spray so that the articles would not stick to the surface the way the 3 x 5 cards did last night. As I learned last week (once again demonstrating my expansive reading) John Muir would not like me very much as he had a fascination with dirt and cleanliness that approached OCD. He certainly would take one look at the floor of my house and run screaming toward the nearest tree.
The floor of my bedroom around this computer looks much the same, except that the papers I don’t need immediately are scattered in a haphazard fashion on the floor, where I swept them off the bed last night to go to sleep. You can tell I slept in the bed last night because the quilt is on the floor where I left it this morning, and the sheets are arranged in the manner of rolling hills that would give Mr. Muir infinite delight if he could just get past his little problem and make it into the second room.
On a chair (I think there’s a chair under there) is a pile of clothes I may or may not wear again before I launder them, just across from the overflowing laundry hamper of items which have progressed beyond the magic of Wrinkle Release and generic Febreeze to render wearable. The sheets also need to be changed. I haven’t pulled my son’s sheets either and he’ll be back here Sunday, but that’s the next room. This clearly demonstrates that I am a Careless and Absent Minded Scholar, too busy to be bothered to wash them until absolutely necessary.
The general condition of my room again demonstrates my learning, as I can cite Chaucerian clerk’s (poor scholars that they are) as an excuse for the slovenly condition of my bedroom. Clerks clearly weren’t good for much except swyving (my new favorite word) Millers’ and Reeves’wives and daughters and going on in Latin about Boethius. Unlike medieval clerks, my entire knowledge of Boethius is derived from A Confederacy of Dunces, but that in no way undermines my argument that I am Scholar (Do you sense a theme developing here? Are you sure? Lets look at that passage again.)
My son’s room (excepting the sheets I need to wash before Sunday, the collection of orphan socks that have lain out on our shared dresser for about two weeks now, and a window unit air conditioner I have not yet installed show) that I am not completely a creature of sloth. The still-boxed A/C shows my disregard for personal comfort typical of a person of Above Average Intelligence and of Scholarly Interests, as testified to by the fact that I am perfectly happy to sit here and type (instead of working on that paper) with my feet perfectly comfortable in the pool of sweat down there.
The kitchen is the real find, ready to be carefully excavated with the use of delicate instruments (so as not to scratch the counters) and soft bristle tooth brushes lest something valuable be lost. The counter (in spite of my daily efforts to keep in clean) most closely resembles a wall of Roman graffiti unearthed at Pompeii. It says something like “what a slob” but I don’t read Latin. And I blame the cheap, leaky coffee pot for most of it although I’m pretty sure there is a piece or two of shredded cheese and a bit of Siracha sauce from the modern era (specifically the Lunch Period).
I have managed to do the dishes while my lunch warmed up, demonstrating that I am intelligent enough to avoid working on that pile of papers I must turn into one paper without so much as a single citation to a text on alchemy. Unfortunately, doing the dishes while warming up my lunch means I will head back to the library with dirty dishes in the sink. Again. That I choose the library over washing a single dish and fork clearly demonstrates that I am a Man of Learning who prefers the library to clean dishes, and grabbing just one more book before I start on that damned annotated bibliography.
The kitchen is gaily decorated in Post-It notes, reminding me to do things like pay the bills except those I forget to put up a Post-It note about. The careful organization of a month’s worth of mail (flyers included) provides the model for the organization of my scholarly research. My ability to maintain such a careful system of organization while forgetting to pay the Cox bill is typical of the Intellectual who has better things to do.
I don’t think we want to talk about the bathroom, except to say it will be the very model of porcelain sanitation before my son gets here,even though two men who leave the seat up almost all the time will soon reduce it to a condition usually associated with off-brand gas stations. At least I do a better job when he’s here of keeping up with it. Before he arrives I will carefully stack all of the papers back on the bed and on the couch so that I can vacuum up the crumbs and little scraps of paper. I will probably wipe down everything with some sort of nasty chemical aerosol, demonstrating I am diligent if a bit tardy. Again, I would argue all of this demonstrates that I am a Man of Ideas, who often has his head
up his in some cloud of lofty thought and so only cleans when its absolutely necessary.
I guess it’s time to stop procrastinating and put my clothes back on. You may think that’s more than you wanted to know about my lifestyle but its hot in here. I have to get that damned A/C installed sometime before finals. That gives me until May. I think I can get it taken care of by then.
1) These are true Xerox copies, because I used a true Xerox copier. It said so on the little crawling display which also reminded me to insert some more coins. I’m not sure companies scan the Internet the way they used to do newspapers for misuses of their trademarks but I wish to be prudent. I don’t want to get one of those letters I received long ago at the newspaper informing me that the product Styrofoam has many wonderful uses, but the making of cups is not one of them.