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Vita Brevis

“It really was in the poorest possible taste”, I said to Madeleine as I forced the last bit of chicken in ichor into my mouth, “I mean really, street performers are bad enough – and mimes the worst of the lot – but this went beyond the pale.”

Madeleine nodded at me through a heroic sip of her fourth merlot. She wasn’t really paying attention, she almost never did, and that is partly why she is such a great dinner companion.

“He was just standing there, clutching at his throat, his mouth opening and closing with horrid irregularity. It was quite off-putting really. It was nearly enough to make me cancel my lunch.”

“Such things simply shouldn’t be allowed”, Madeleine sympathized with a slight slur.

“I quite agree, and you haven’t heard the worst of it yet. Once he grew tired of the throat clutching and mouth opening he dropped to his knees and onto his face. He lay there twitching for a few moments and then stopped even that.”

“How very awful for you” Madeleine said as she attempted to lure a waiter over in hopes of obtaining another glass.

“I should say. There were a few people who watched the whole of the grotesquerie with me. One black-clad, bereted young man – an artist or a communist I’d think – applauded and dropped some coins onto the paltry pile of money collected in a battered hat. ‘Brilliant’ he kept saying as he walked away. For my part I couldn’t convince myself to leave him anything but lying there – so I made my way to a lunch I was no longer sure I could eat.”

“Dreadful”, Madeleine said, “No, not the wine. I was talking to my friend,” she added when she saw the waiter’s affronted look. “Though it is a bit listless”.

“Quite dreadful. Why it fairly spoiled my whole day. This morning I read in the paper that a mime, a student at the Ecole Theatre – as if a French name confers prestige – choked to death on the last of a sandwich while a small crowd of onlookers did nothing but watch.”

“Serves him right, imagine the gall to do so private a thing on a public street. Vulgar really, unforgivably vulgar. People have no sense of decorum.”

“I quite agree”, I said as I stood, helped Madeleine from the table, and went to pay the bill.

But would I be a good Messiah with my low self-esteem? / If I don't believe in myself would that be blasphemy? - The Bloodhound Gang Hell Yeah

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The following comments are for "Vita Brevis"
by Enforced Bliss

Latin etc
Yes it is Latin, no I don't do it to alienate my readers. I do it for 2 reasons - the first being that I like the Latin and ALL of the titles are "well-known" Latin. Vita brevis - life is short, rez ipso loquitor - it speaks for itself etc are all easy enough to tracvk down if you are interested - which brings us to the second reason.

I do it in the hope, perhaps naive, that it might prompt someone to actually look it up. What Latin I know (precious little and all of it scraps) came from reading classical lit and finding the Latin that they through in. I had thought I might spur someone else to pick up the habit (much like looking up unfamiliar words in a dictionary).

As to the scoring - thank you, but I hadn't even noticed. I rarely look at the scores on my own stuff. I just read the comments.

( Posted by: enforced bliss [Member] On: September 2, 2003 )

Quiquid Latine dictum sit, altum viditur
I've used Latin a few times myself in the same way. It's quite good fun. I think it does give a certain air to a piece, which can sound pretentious if used in the wrong way, but used well it can really enhance the whole piece.

( Posted by: Spudley [Member] On: September 2, 2003 )

That's the spirit
Thank you for saying so eloquently what I bobbled earlier.

( Posted by: enforced bliss [Member] On: September 2, 2003 )

Thought It Goeth Unseen
Sorry. I don't even think goeth is a word, unless you're talking about the mispelled surnames of classic German writers. But I digress.

EB, I liked this one. Lacks the subtlety of your others, meaning Common Joe Washer could understand it. Good stuff. I especially liked the line: "Madeleine nodded at me through a heroic sip of her fourth merlot."

The alternate purpose of this comment is to say that school will be starting on Thursday for me, and that as such my rate of commenting and posting will drop sharply, perhaps to the point that I would be declared absent. Hope this isn't the case, but I picked a pretty heavy senior year. To any who read this: Thanks for all the tips. I'll drop back when I can.

( Posted by: Washer [Member] On: September 2, 2003 )

Et tu Penelope?
I sometimes have trouble picking up on the tone meant when reading things on these electronic errata. orry if I sounded snippy, I hadn't meant to.

This is a companion piece to another I did called Ars Longa - Ars longa, vita brevis (art is long, life is short).

( Posted by: enforced bliss [Member] On: September 3, 2003 )

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