Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bertie Knows Best

As befits a fellow facing approximately 90 straight days of relative leisure, I’ve been filling my idle hours with a good deal of recreational reading. And to my way of thinking nothing is more recreational than P.G. Wodehouse’s accounts of the exploits of old Bertie Wooster and his clever manservant, Jeeves, of which I’ve written lovingly about before.

What I’m particularly enjoying this go-round is just how unabashedly lazy Bertie is. His days are filled with nothing of any consequence: he rises late, putters about, goes to his club for a couple of drinks and a bite to eat, then spends the evening dozing in a chair, or occasionally, if his nephews are in town or an old friend from school is visiting, puts on his evening clothes and makes the rounds of nightclubs until the wee hours. Next morning, fortified by Jeeves’ miracle hangover concoction, he starts the cycle all over again.

And bless his heart, Bertie feels not a shred of remorse over any of this; in fact, he does pretty much whatever he can to avoid getting roped into doing anything at all worthwhile. One of the low points of his existence, for example, is when he is almost married to Honoria Glossop, a particularly formidable female with a loud, braying laugh, who is bent on improving him at every turn. Fortunately, as usual, Jeeves saves the day: simply by dropping hints that Bertie is a madman, he gets Honoria’s father, Sir Roderick Glossop, to call off the engagement. At first, Bertie is a bit miffed that all of London thinks he’s off his rocker, but upon reflection, and balancing his freedom against his reputation, he gladly accepts the trade-off.

I myself am not so sanguine about either my lack of ambition or my standing in the eyes of others as is our hero; I’ve got a couple months ahead of me, though, to emulate Bertie’s demeanor; if but I had Jeeves to assist.


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