Monday, April 11, 2011

The riparian temptress and I

Having just passed through a weekend in the mid-Atlantic, when fully half of its daylight hours were conducive to the regional faiblesse, the skinny dip, it is clear that we have reached the time on the annual calendar when the great decision is upon us. I refer, naturally, to the question of whether to tanline, or not to tanline. Of course it is never too soon to be careful, but any day now, on a pleasing walk into our countryside, readers will come face to face with enough solar resolu-tion, to compel their choice on the spot. One spontaneous leap upon the flanks of a riparian temptress - and they are everywhere - is enough to dilute the pristine tanline for a whole season.

Readers may well wonder, that we should selflessly digress again upon a question of maintenance of this kind, on a Monday morning, when the last time we did, a historic exercise in marmsmanship was visited upon us, by one of blogdom's hoarier martinets. Ignoring its inspiration of a sweet adoption tale, to say nothing of the compliment of contempt, it's because the underlying logic of that posting remains incontrovertible: Monday is Everyman's day for self-critical assessments, if only to beat mankind at its punch. That it is also an occasion for naughty Wittgenstein to lay his latest experiment in guyplay athwart the assump-tion of drudgery, is a coincidence upon which we couldn't speculate. We rinse, we repeat.

Moreover, having committed ourself to the defense of sport against the degenerate exploitations of the age, it would be exotically incongruous to launch our practice of inquiry upon any quadrant of the monthly interval without that scorekeeping scruple which many associate with ordinary tidiness. How many holes of golf, for example, does the leader board allow to be shot, without performing its ritual tally? We note, what a blurring follows from tasking ourself to recall how things were, so relatively few strides in the sun ago. And we take care, not to raise ourself above the lot of Everyman.

We take no position on the tanline, for others at least; but it is only fair to warn, the calendar is adamant and the time is now. We hear it averred, in the case of a default in judgment, there is always next year. But we cannot suppose that Mr Dylan would have sung, Every-body's making love, or else expecting rain, if there really were two sides to this question. If we are to give such expression of the sun as the lyric sug-gests, who can be sure he is prepared to allow indifference to be his rhetorician? And need one add, there is little more tragic, than to have made the irreversible choice, euphoric as the sense of liberty may be. We can always dissolve the tanline; but what then, should proclaim the sun?

That said, far be it from us, on this Monday's occasion of self-maintenance, to shrink from multi-tasking along the lines of the first. In evaluating the stability of the colour bar, much can be done with a reliable towel - provided, it is always the same - to assay its circumference. From this, urgently practical and most seasonal consideration, too, a flourishing tradition of self-portraiture by telephone has sprung up, enriching countless social networks before the opening bell has even rung. For those hard-to-appraise reaches of the tan-line, we suppose a likely convenience in texting the data to the Four Hundred for their response. What pos-sible agenda could they pursue, who dismiss the tanline?

Bob Dylan
Desolation Row

iv, Ronan Bertoli

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