Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In the end, had Gérard ever really been cut out for crew?

I sit astride life like a bad rider on a horse. I only owe it to the horse's good nature that I am not thrown off at this very moment.

Gérard did spend a strenuous springtime with us, practicing the pos-tures of rowing. There can be no gainsaying his mastery of the canted foot, the lofted knee, the open-shouldered setting of the gaze at what's behind. No one exhibited a finer zeal for our colours, dicing orange into underlying hues.

I guess we'll never know what sort of stroke he might have made. He fell upon some Wittgenstein at home on Easter break, and suddenly Philosophy was all he'd entertain. Into that valley of wit Gérard did ride, determined to perfect his mentor's seat by error if not by trial, heuristically testing the steed by the pommel, not the flank, flouting every chance to settle in one place.

It was like Wittgenstein, to ride a horse for what it is, not what it could be; while, Gérard had a way of persuading us to believe almost anything. It's hard to be sure his flair for colour didn't play some useful part in his conceptions, not that we really grasped them, he was so very quick.

Ludwig Wittgenstein
Culture and Value
Diaries published posthumously
Peter Winch, translator
University of Chicago Press, 1980©


  1. Very witty indeed!! 1939 yet!

    Art by Karena

  2. Oh, you're being very nice. It's really the ever-youthful Wittgenstein's doing. :)

  3. "No one exhibited a finer zeal for our colours"
    could be referring to RMBL?

  4. I admit, Tassos, the page is sometimes a garish little glisten on the brow of blogdom, but here I was thinking of the orange cassoulet that could be cobbled together from what Gérard happened to have "on" at the moment. I'm only sorry we didn't conduct that experiment.

    Gérard is that not very radically uncommon sort of guy, who sometimes seems to be yielding to an impulse from out of nowhere (I have at least one reader such as that), and turns the thing into the dazzlingest pommel exercise of anyone in the class. I loved knowing them, I love remembering them, and their stories.