Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Whenever I have a stopover in my trip I lose something. This last trip from St Petersburg to Mexico had too many stops: in Moscow I left a wool jumper, in Bonn two pink umbrellas. In New York I left an unread issue of New Yorker a pair of Tommy Hilfiger sunglassess that I bought in Manhattan. Actually, the sunglasses turned up in my luggage later but, meanwhile, I convinced myself that they were quite ugly so they also qualify as a loss.

There is nothing new under the sun, of course; especially, if you are an idiot. In particular, my plight has been described in the classical Russian literature. Here is an attempt to a translate the relevant piece: "Losses" by Daniil Harms.
Andrey Andreevich Myasov bought a wick at the market and set off with it for home.
On his way Andrey Andreevich lost the wick and stopped at the shop in order to buy some hundred and fifty grams of Poltava sausage. Then Andrey Andreevich stopped at the milk cooperative and bought a bottle of kefir, afterwards had a small glass of bread ale at the stall and queued for a newspaper. The queue was quite long and Andrey Andreevich spent at least twenty minutes queueing but, as he was approaching the seller, the newspapers run out just under his nose.
Andrey Andreevich hesitated for a while and went home, but on the way lost the kefir and stopped at the bakery, where he bought a french baguette but lost the Poltava sausage. 
Then Andrey Andreevich went directly home, but on the way he fell, lost the french baguette and broke his glasses. 
Andrey Andreevich came home extremely irritated and went straight to bed but could not fall asleep for a long time; when he finally fell asleep he dreamed that he had lost his toothbrush and was brushing his teeth with some kind of a candlestick.
The works of Harms are often misclassified as humour. However, he was arrested several times (at least once clearly on the account of his writings) and died in a psychiatric ward in prison. Nobody could disregard the duty to lick the dictator's boots and be safe at the same time, but Harms was a real enemy: he observed a world that could not be improved by ideology.

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