Topical Guide 448
Rowboat, Drifting in, as Metaphor for Existential Crisis
Little Follies, “The Fox and the Clam”:
ONE EVENING, a poor fox was on his way home. The fox lived on an island, as all foxes did at that time, so to get home the fox had to use a rowboat. His route took him across some clam flats. In his mouth the fox was carrying a nice dinner for his family, a leg of lamb, dripping with gravy, that he had snatched from the dinner table of a farmer while the farmer and his family were saying grace. While the fox was rowing, he began to feel sorry for himself.
First he compared the misery of his existence with the joy that he imagined other animals felt. Day after day he risked life and limb to bring food home to his family, and yet when he arrived home, his heart still pounding with fear, he was greeted not with looks of admiration but with gluttony and drool, and every night he fell asleep with the thought in his mind that tomorrow he would have to do it all again.
Next the fox began to think about his past life, to weigh what he had done against what he had once hoped to do. It seemed to the fox that he had done nothing commendable, nothing memorable. He decided that if, one day, he did not return home, he’d be forgotten the day after.
A profound weariness spread through the fox. He stopped rowing and just let the boat drift. The evening was still, and the boat barely moved. The fox sank into a sapping despair that lasted for days.
Reservations Recommended, Chapter 2
Here was the whole catalog. Short ones, tall ones, big ones, small ones, just like the song.
Matthew misremembers a portion of “Spill the Wine”:
I was taken to a place,
The hall of the mountain king.
I stood high upon a mountain top,
Naked to the world,
In front of every kind of girl.
There was long ones, tall ones, short ones, brown ones,
Black ones, round ones, big ones, crazy ones.
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