As days of Indian Summer seem to be fading away with the arrival of fall in earnest this week, so do the halcyon park days of Henry Bovine, a tram operator of thirty years and a decorated veteran of the Abracadabra Campaign, whose pastimes include reading his periodical subscriptions and writing his essays and reviews in his weblog basking himself in the sun alone or sometimes with his good errant friends enjoying their temporary free times away from their homes in reminiscence of their bachelorhood. Wasn’t it Francis Bacon who also lamented the pathos of a married man with children? “A man with his wife and children gives hostages to the goddess Fortuna,” was his philosophical utterance. It’s not that all the married men in Avonlea regret their conjugal ways of life, but that they inevitably have to sacrifice some of their personal times for the sake of families. Surely, John and his chum Randy Beaver, the wonderful chef at the fabulous French restaurant called La Boum (meaning “The Party” in English) are aware of their duties as married men and rights as individuals who do not forego their weekend sovereign pastimes.
“Hey, Henry. What’s new today? What’ re you writing about? Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well, I think. That means your writing is worth the reading in my part.” Anything coming from Randy is not flattery of a sycophant or an empty approbation of a busybody. He means it with all his heart and with all his mind. Knowing this makes Henry a fortiori pleased and appreciated, and because Henry is a very reticent man who tends to dissimulate his realm of thoughts, unless otherwise he trusts one to become his confidante over a long period of probation to test the character of the would-be confidante. “Hi Randy. Instead of writing, I am reading this week’s edition of The Watcher that mostly deals with the issues arising out of gender dysphoria in elementary and middle schools. For goodness’ sake, I could not have imagined to read such articles a decade ago. I guess I am falling by the wayside of the epochal changes and stuck in forgeyism,” says Henry with a wry smile. “Oh, cheer up, Henry. For what it’s worth, the world is not such a bad place to live. Life is like a voyage of Odyssey, packed full of vicissitudes of fortune,” declaims Randy against Henry’s self-effacing disservice to himself. “Shakespeare said it a personal play, but I call it a voyage because it seems more daringly venturesome. You know that between the devil and the deep sea, there was a strait where one of the most endearing and exciting adventures of Odyssey happened? Vide our own lives in that perspective!”
Randy’s passionate delivery of philosophical speech brings the grist to the mill for Henry’s reservoir of writing and enlivens his otherwise gloomy spirit with a visceral feeling of hopefulness and good-humorousness, of which Henry is in need. Ever humane and munificent, Henry wants to treat Randy with nice homemade styled lunch at Snoopy. Randy is, of course, glad to lunch with his intellectual friend who understands what he has read, ranging from the Classical to the contemporary, and what he talks about with verve and gusto. Isn’t it wonderful to have a kindred spirit in life? But in case Fortune has not yet revealed such spirit to you, do not be disheartened, for you can dispel your gloomy spells by trying to braving the world outside your comfort zones little by little: walking in the hustle and bustle of the center of town with no particular destinations in mind, followed by enjoying a coffee time with a journal to write and a book to read at your favorite coffee shop, will surely frame your mind to mirth and merriment that can make you immune from a thousand harms for the day. At the end of the day, Petula Clark’s “Downtown” will sound apposite to your day’s adventure, or it will seem.