Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Moby-Dick, or, The Snail

I'm reading Moby-Dick (or, The Whale), for the first time. Though I originally trembled when considering the length, I have to say, I am really enjoying the "ripping yarn" aspects of it.

Sometimes, though, it does get a bit... ponderous. What can I say? The man really loved words. No... really.

At these junctures, my mind drifts into a kind of verbiage-induced delirium, and alternate versions float into my awareness. (Deep apologies to Melville and whatever estate he might have at this date):

1) Moby-Dickens

Ahab dies of consumption just as the Pequod reaches the tropics. He is replaced by Mr. Tulkinghorn, who spends all his time skulking in the captain's cabin, reviewing the shipping papers. The crew begins superstitious grumblings. After he discovers an ominous secret in the papers, Tulkinghorn launches into a mesmerizing speech (four and a half pages), containing a veiled threat to first mate John Jarndyce. Savage Queequeg, secret lover of Jarndyce, overhears the self-important speech, and tosses the attorney/captain overboard, exclaiming, "Me think-e captain use-e too many word!" Two chapters (36 pages) follow, detailing, in pseudo-scientific language, the reasons sharks don't eat lawyers. The author's pet theory is that the two are of the same species.

2) Mobius-Dick

Just before the Leviathan delivers his coup-de-grace, killing all the crew and officers, the entire 650 pages confoundingly turn in on themselves and we are back in New Bedford, where Ishmael is ranting about the virtues of a fleabag seaman's inn.

3) Moby-Dick,
or, The Sale

This weekend only!
20% off yard-arms!!
25% off mizzen masts!!!
DEEP discounts on gently used ivory legs!!!! No reasonable offer refused!!!!!
MasterCard, Visa or gold doubloons welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4) Moby Dick
or, the Blog

"march 3 (post number 1,000! i made it!):
another boring day. i wish ahab would shut up already about that whale. all his 'thou-ing' and 'avast-ing"! it's like, enough already! he thinks he's so noble!

i emailed my mom that i want to come home, but she totally denied me!!!

i can't stop thinking about how Queequeg kinda creeps me out but i sorta like him, too, y'know?? it's weird. i guess everything's weird. i mean, like, life is weird.

oh, well.

guess i better go now, stubbs wants to play solitaire on the laptop. i know i said i was gonna write about all the kinds of harpoon tips. i'll definitely post again this afternoon, or maybe before lunch."

2 comments:

El Cabrero said...

I am in awe!

thinkulous said...

Thanks, Cabrero! I thought you would like 'em -- they remind me so much of Dr. Ringworm's comments on MD!