Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Another Step Closer to Old Fart-ness, a Useful List, and a Description of Ornamental Hermits

Well, another year has come and gone.... I am officially older than I was last year. The past few days have been spent offline-- doing as much as humanly possible to be a completely useless sponge on society-- dining, brunching, lunching, dining, then lunching again. However, at least I never followed through on having my midlife crisis.

And have we learned anything during the past twelve months?

1. That we shouldn't date graduate students who cannot do their own work
2. That you can gain much wisdom from kung fu movies
3. That cheese is good
4. That normalizing databases to 3rd normal form is very important in an OLTP environment
5. That 33 is considerably better than 23

Anyway, I've been mulling over possible choices for the upcoming year: should I dye my hair red? Should I move to Las Vegas? Should I quit my job and become a Gentleman Farmer or Itinerant Wanderer?

Speaking of changing jobs, I've learned of an interesting occupation that is, Sadly, no longer in vogue: the highly fascinating job of being an * "Ornamental Hermit". Apparently, at one time it was quite fashionable for members of the aristocracy to hire ornamental hermits to meditate in caves or retreats on family estates. According to Edith Sitwell, who wrote English Eccentrics, it was not uncommon during the reign of King George II.

Her book even contains a description of duties, according to the terms of one preserved agreement, which states that a hermit should "continue in the hermitage seven years, where he should be provided with a Bible, optical glasses, a mat for his feet, a hassock for his pillow, an hour-glass for his time-piece, water for his beverage, and food from the house. He must wear a camlet robe, and never, under any circumstances, must he cut his hair, beard, or nails, stray beyond the limits of...(the) grounds or exchange one word with the servant." The payment for such services was seven hundred pounds after seven years.

If such a position were still available, I would, of course, contemplate growing a beard.

I must certainly recommend Sitwell's book, as it also contains informative sections on Quacks, Alchemists, Amateurs of Fashion, Men of Learning, Travellers, and Marine Adventures.

* I am not making this up


Anonymous Professor Twain said...

Old fart-ness? That doesn't sound very kind to the elders in the room.

Glad that you have been having a fabulous time, and that you are growing more wise as you age. Just think how full of stuff your brain will be when you are 51!

By the way, you have been fooling your readers a bit, claiming 33 years of age on MySpace when you were only approaching that age. You have thrown my math off.

I certainly hope to attend some sort of Fabulous Art Event in the future, but I like keeping people in suspense and anticipation. Reality is no substitute for imagination.

We are going to see the Soweto Gospel Choir tomorrow night. I will be the very White guy shouting "Amen".

11:08 PM  
Blogger roselle said...

i vote iterant wanderer!!
it's what my life goal is!

happy birthday LA!

#6. that's been learned in the last year? you're an exceptional blogchick! (yes thats a term now!)

hope your year ahead is fantaculous!


11:57 AM  
Blogger L said...

My Dear Professor: I am STILL having issues trying to respond to your email. And old fartness is really a state of mind that has absolutely nothing to do with actual age :) I didn't hear about the Soweto choir until it was too late! but I did get to hear them on 88.5 -- they were fabulous & sounded slightly like LadySmith Black Mambazo....

Atractiva (Roselle): thank you m'dear -- I appreciate your happy wishes :)

12:54 AM  
Blogger frustratedwriter said...

now that is a book i will definitely read! oh, ornamental hermitage is way overrated... 700 pds just doesn't carry as much economic weight as it used to...

11:38 AM  
Blogger glomgold said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly on 2, 3, & 5. I'll take your word for 1 & 4.

8:02 PM  
Blogger L said...

frustrated writer: it is a very interesting book actually :)

glomgold: heh heh

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Rhodent said...

Yes, I do remember you reading that chapter to me. How could I forget?

Loved having brunch AND dinner with you!Hope your birthday was at least close to what you hoped for it to be.

Love you bunches ALWAYS!

9:19 PM  
Anonymous negative guy said...

Wow, Ive been an ornamental hermit all this time, and didnt even realize it was a job I could get paid for..

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Brett said...

Despite the fact that the pie you decided to use for Mazel Tov practice was apparently mine...happy birthday, L. 33 can't possibly be that bad - I mean, I'm about 9 months behind you, and I'm not having any issues whatso...

Sorry, you'll have to excuse me. My spleen just ruptured.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Mariana said...

Awww, happy birthday, L! We're practically the same age, I'm 32!

9:20 PM  
Anonymous tiny said...

I once kissed a red headed ornamental wanderer when in Vegas and she wanted to be paid 700 pounds. Go figure.

9:20 PM  
Anonymous tickgirl said...

Hmmm... I waited all this time for a clue as to how your birthday really was, and except for a smallish clue, you are being quite secretive...

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Happy and Blue said...

Happy somewhat belated Birthday. Hope you got a pony..

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Brenda Love said...

I don't know about changing jobs but I think you'd make a great redhead!

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Not to alarm you - BUT, based on your birthday snapshot, you appear to be shrinking in your old age. :D

9:21 PM  
Anonymous GEL said...

I recall reading that delightful "midlife crisis post last year", laughing and smiling at how close you and your mom are.

Happy Belated Birthday to you, "L"! I bet you had a grand day (and wore just the right outfit, and I don't mean your birthday suit!) Sometimes I live vicariously through your cool adventures.

9:21 PM  
Blogger L said...

Rhodent: thanks! The food was great, and so was the company!

NegativeGuy: I know! It's really the ideal sort of position for a Discerning Misanthropist, I always say

Brett: OH NO!! I totally forgot! I will have to bring another one in next week! (You're not the only one who's complained).

Mariana: thank you! 32 is a good age to be-- but hopefully 33 will be even better

tiny: I hope you got away

tickgirl: I left a message for you...

Happy&Blue: Nope. Still no pony

Brenda: thank you I just might try it!

Lisa: I know! It's terribly worrisome!

GreenEyedLady: it's hard to believe that it's been a whole year-- and I have a grey hair today! Thanks for your good wishes

9:21 PM  

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