Let Mark Twain Love You

This morning, one of the first things that happened when I got out of bed was this: I discovered that Alan Rickman died. From cancer. At age 69.

It reminded me of a day earlier this week, when one of the first things that happened when I got out of bed was this: I discovered that David Bowie died. From cancer. At age 69.

The universe is stuck in a rut. That’s typical of this time of year. The holidays are over, and we all have to go back to work. There’s ice all over the goddamn ground, the sun rarely shines, and everyone’s hot, sexy bodies are covered in layers of bulky cloth.

Don’t let yourself get bummed out. Get a Happy Light and a good book. The light bouncing off the pages and directly into your eye holes will make your brain feel awesome. For optimum awesome, I recommend Mark Twain’s descriptions of California and Hawaii. Yes, it’s old-timey escapism, but consider this: So far, 2016 has killed some of our favorite people. Perhaps it’s time to cut our losses and abandon this present reality.

Roughing ItRoughing It by Mark Twain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Twain’s semi-autobiographical account of his time on the Western frontier of the United States around the time of the gold rush. He tells of his work in mines, in processing mills, and on newspapers, as well as buying into a few get-rich-quick schemes. These schemes never work out as he hopes (of course; few plans of this type ever do), but they make for brilliant fodder: Humorous accounts of youthful hubris and naiveté. Character sketches that are a goddamn scream.
The book ends with a trip to Hawaii (then known as the Sandwich Islands). Though this section seems to have been tacked on as a sort of bonus track, it’s an exceptional piece of work in and of itself. Prepare yourself for some good old fashioned racism, but take mild comfort in the fact that Twain’s perspective seems progressive for a white guy in mid-to-late-1800s; he takes the piss out of the Christian missionaries who demand that the native Hawaiians abandon the hedonistic ways that Twain says perfectly suit life in such a Paradise.

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