This morning, I quoted a snippet of "To his Coy Mistress" at someone on Twitter ("The grave's a fine and private place/but none, I think, do there embrace"). The poem was written by Andrew Marvell and it inspired a (much later) poet to write a similar poem (essentially: "Life is short and death is long so let's get it on, baby") called, "You, Andrew Marvell"
And my brain came up with this:
(I was thinking the monkey was from Futurama but the internets tells me it's from Family Guy. Whatever).
And I realized: this is one way in which I am kind of useless in the brave new world* in which we live: I know poetry, and I can make jokes off of it. But I'm fairly useless at business or economics beyond balancing my own checkbook. And while I like that I know these things - I value that I had a prep school education**, still, it's further evidence of how I don't fit in in a lot of ways.
(* Which is itself a Shakespeare allusion, and also a dystopian novel by Huxley - and it is probably the dystopia we will get, and perhaps the one we deserve)
(** For more reasons than one. As I've alluded to in the past, it made a huge difference in how I felt about myself and the world and I might not be here - I mean that in the most literal and serious way - if I hadn't gotten out of the pressure-cooker clique-fest that was the public school system in my town)
Ach, I don't know. My neck is hurting this morning. Either I tweaked something working out yesterday or it's just one of the periodic "this is where stress goes to die on me" things.
And about that uselessness: I would like to believe that I'm one of the ones trying to carry forward that kind of knowledge, caring about that kind of stuff, and keep it alive, but honestly, I don't really have anyone I'm passing it on to all that much. Often the allusions to historical things I make in class seem largely to be lost (do people, I mean people who aren't history buffs, know much about the family of the last tsar and about familial transmission of hemophilia?) and I know from one of my classes last spring, I don't DARE be too idiosyncratic because then people just giggle and pass notes.
I dunno. I need to stop thinking about it that way because it depresses me.
(Really, what I want to do is build a book-fort and have the password be a line of poetry or something. So if I quote a line of a somewhat famous poem at you and you can quote the next one back*, you're welcome to come in. If you roll your eyes or laugh at me or tell me I need to care about pop music instead, you don't get invited into the book-fort)
(*Or even if you can't, but express interest in learning what it's from, you're welcome. It's just the nuffers who think caring about literature or learning is stupid that are unwelcome.)