According to Alexandre Dumas’s delightful and timeless The Three Musketeers, Louix XIII of France, burdened by the duties of kingship, would frequently draw aside favored courtiers and complain to them “Je suis ennui [I am bored].”
I am almost never bored . . . unless I’m overwhelmed. In that case, my brain shuts down and my defensive emotion is boredom. Thus, back in high school, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the mountains of homework I somehow failed to do; I was, instead, bored with my work. I had exactly the same emotional response as a young (and, thinking about it, old) lawyer when I was staring down a big brief. Right up until the moment sheer panic hit, bringing with it a useful burst of adrenalin, my overriding emotion was a sense of ennui that left me completely paralyzed.
That’s how I feel today. I’ve managed to gather over 200 emails in each of my inboxes, my homemaker tasks keep piling up, and I have so many things to say that I’m paralyzed. So what’s my overriding emotion? Je suis ennui.
So, here’s my plan: In a few hours I’ll have finished caring for my mother, my children, my exchange student, and my housework. I’ll sit down and bring my inboxes under control, fold the last of the laundry, and cook dinner. I’ll then think about two socio-political points I want to make and start drafting them. At 9:00 p.m., I’ll tune into the season premier of Dancing With The Stars, a show I love because I love dancing; I love watching beautiful professionals dance; and because I get genuine pleasure out of watching the “stars” (can B-listers be stars?) working hard and improving over the course of several weeks.
Having done all this, I assume that I’ll be mentally refreshed and that, having escaped the feeling of being overwhelmed, I’ll also stop being bored by Obama’s failings and depredations, by ISIS’s killing spree, by the world’s rising antisemitism, by the Progressives’ constant attacks on the stabilizing force of Judeo-Christian values, and myriad other distressing stories in the news and, instead, find all of them to be inspirations for writing.
Until then, don’t get stuck being ennui with me. Instead, here’s an open thread — please express yourself.
Also, since I’m talking history, a friend reminded me that we might be better off if Obama was conversant with a little more history; or, at least, the non-Marxist variation on history:
And while we’re on the subject of that golf game, do you recall (yes, I’m sure you do), the ridicule heaped upon President Bush when, after hearing about the attack on the Twin Towers, he spent another five minutes finishing a book he was reading to children, before getting down to the business of governing? It’s like Obama is Bush’s evil Doppelganger, but the media refuses to notice.