SUNDAY WORDS

31 Oct

calamityphysics

“There’s no education superior to travel. Think of The Motorcycle Diaries or what Montrose St Millet wrote in Ages of Exploration: ‘To be still is to be stupid. To be stupid is to die.’ And so we shall live. Every Betsy sitting next to you in a classroom will only know Maple Street on which sits her boxy white house, inside of which which whimper her boxy white parents. After your travels, you’ll know Maple Street, sure, but also wilderness and ruins, carnivals and the moon. You’ll know the man sitting on an apple crate in Cheerless, Texas, who lost his legs in Vietnam,the woman in the tollbooth outside of Dismal, Delaware, in possession of six children, a husband with black lung but no teeth. When a teacher asks the class to interpret Paradise Lost no one will be able to grab your coattails, sweet, for you will be flying far, far out in front of them all. For them, you will be a speck somewhere above the horizon. And thus, when you’re ultimately set loose upon the world…” He shrugged, his smile lazy as an old dog. “I suspect you’ll have no choice but to go down in history.”

Marisha Pessl
Special Topics in Calamity Physics, 2006

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