Friday, January 15, 2010

And Once, a Whole Packet of Marigold Seeds

This is my favorite passage of Padgett Powell's The Interrogative Mood:

May I tell you that I once knew a refrigerator man, who called them simply "boxes," who would come to my house if I poked a hole in the Freon lines trying to defrost the freezer with an ice pick, and fix the hole with epoxy he mixed right there on the bottom of a Coke bottle, and who once brought his assistant Burgess with him and after the repair had been effected said to me, "Now, we know you smart, you go to college, and we wanting to ax you a question, because you smart, you go to college, and..." and went on like that until I said, "All right, Nevada, I'm not smart but we'll say I'm smart, what is the question?" and Nevada said, "Well, Burgess's pennis don't get hard, and we wondering if you could recommend something for Burgess's pennis to get hard," and Burgess offered up as proof of his lost virility a brief testament that before this debilitation had obtained one could hear him bust a nut, as he put it, for blocks on Beaver Street in Jacksonville, Florida, where they knew I was from, and that so moved was I by their appeal to my eminent authority and by the pronunciation pennis and by Burgess's obvious anguish--he was wringing his hands at the red kitchen table--that I stepped without hesitation to the cabinet and withdrew my Bob Hoffman Protein Powder for weight lifters and mixed some of it with a honey-and-vinegar cocktail over ice and told Burgess to drink it all at once, and he did, and shortly said he was sure he felt something, positive he felt something, and his soaring spirits lifted him away from the table and Nevada carried him on to his appointment with virility?

Is it because I am so fond of sex misspellings (teets, puzzy, etc.), or because I am so fond of concoctions? I would estimate that a full sixty percent of my childhood free time was spent mixing concoctions. These concoctions incorporated such various ingredients as rainwater, tree bark, and snapdragons on the nature side, and mouthwash, peach syrup, and Gravy Master on the household side. I did not even try to make them taste good. In fact, I preferred it when they didn't, because then I got to grimace manfully as I "threw them down." Now ask me did I drink them out of an empty vanilla extract bottle? Readers, I did.

2 comments:

Radish King said...

Holy crap my son the Surfer used to be absolutely crazy about concoctions since he was very young. Sometimes he'd add a thickener like flour and pour the stuff in a flashlight after removing the batteries which went to further somewhat scary experiments. I'd only discover the flashlight mess when there was need for light.

I think his pennis works fine considering the girls passing in and out of the house all the time etc. I think you're on to something here is what I mean.

Also you're brilliant, the Surfer's brilliant. Coincidence? I DON'T THINK SO.

love,
Rebecca

Tricia said...

Oh my God I never even considered pouring it in an empty flashlight-- the Surfer is a genius!

P.S. I am so glad you got your Darger book. It happened so fast I didn't even have time to donate! That is some crazy Catherine de' Medici action right there.