where my friend who had gone into rehab 3 times in the last 5 years kept his 12-step manuals. The loneliness of these books, and the drabness of their conventional pieties made me sad. I missed drinking with him, missed not his slurring incoherence by the end of the evening but the soft buzz of pleasured nerve endings that killed the despair we might have felt at the world’s inability to be other than it was, and the sense of wry adventure we shared in mundane or exotic surroundings (we had traveled together in El Salvador and Colombia but he had lived with his partner for decades in exurban Long Island). I missed the great gift that drinking gives one, which i garnered once unforgettably from a character in a British TV drama: “When you drink, my dear, you are never bored. You may bore other people, but you are never bored.”
But that is why i think John Berryman (who drank too much and ended as a dreadful suicide) has always had the last word about boring:
Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored
means you have no
Inner Resources.’ I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as Achilles,
who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.