Monday, November 22, 2004

Insomnia and Johnson

Oddly, ran out of things to do on Sunday, so went to bed at nine.

Woke up at 3, completely unable to sleep, so whiled away the hours reading Boswell's Life of Johnson.

Rapidly discovered that the famed English man of letters and father of the dictionary really was quite an arsehole.

He's one of those people who's so lazy that his friends are always having to make allowances for him (a mate dropping round begging him to finish a book is forced to take dictation while Johnson remains in bed). He seems rude, tiresome, and quite extraordinarily indolent.

Surprising fact: The only form of exercise Johnson enjoyed was being dragged across ice by a barefoot boy in harness. The man sounds like a depraved cardinal.

Unbearably, people are always coming up to Johnson and saying "You, sir, are the most intelligent man I've ever met." (Only in irritatingly verbose phrasing). He's even welcomed to Oxford by a Don wringing his hands at the prospect of teaching such perspicacious sagacity.

I was pleased to note that a much younger me had left a note in the margin at this point. "Creep". I felt proud.

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