Thursday, September 14, 2023

If Henry David Thoreau Had Added a Goofy Sidekick to Walden


When I wrote the following pages I lived alone in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond in Concord Massachusetts.  I lived there two years and two months, immersing myself in nature, self-reliance, simple living, and personal introspection.

One evening while I was pondering the indescribable innocence and beneficence of nature, my reveries were interrupted by a strenuous knock on the door of my small but thoroughly amenable cottage perched within the New England countryside. 

"Dude, I'm here!  How the hell are ya?" intoned a boisterous voice at a decibel level resembling that of the collision of two steam engines on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad but indeed a voice that I well and warmly recognized.

It was my friend Farky Noodleman, of the Massachusetts Noodlemans!

"Farky!" I exclaimed. "What has brought you here to the shore of Walden Pond and my tightly shingled and plastered cottage?"

 "Dude," he resumed with a bright conviviality "I heard you were doing the transcendental thing up here so I brought you a couple of six packs and a slew of magazines of an ...umm... delicate nature!"

That evening the two of us shared a most pleasant social intercourse, including a number of intellectual insights propounded by our mutual friend Emerson with an especial emphasis on what Farky refers to as the 'LMFAO' passages in Emerson's First Series of Essays.

On the next day following our evening of fellowship, I suggested to Farky a further mutual endeavor that I thought might find much favor with him.

"Farky," I inquired brightly, "since time is but the stream I go a-fishing in would you enjoy accompanying me on a fishing expedition to Walden Pond?"

"Dude,"  Farky replied thoughtfully, "you know Jews don't fish!  But then I might give it the old community college try just his once, as long as you don't tell Rabbi Maltzman!"

And so it was that Farky and I spent a day of transplendent enjoyment in a largely vain but immensely glorious effort to reel in those very pickerel, perch, and pouts which local industrious fishermen are wont to catch in Walden's expressive translucent waters.

The night prior to Farky's intended departure,  I confided to him my deep and heartfeld perception "that if a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears." 

"Yeppers," Farky nodded in assent, "I was always stepping to the beat of Buddy Rich but once he croaked I began stepping to the beat of a different drummer, Max Weinberg."

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

And I did indeed learn what it had to teach: living in the woods is for the birds!  There's no central air and no DoorDash.

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.   But not me.  Shortly thereafter I  left Walden as it seemed to me that it was time to look onward to the morrow. 

And on the morrow I moved in with the Farkster. 

Next week we're going to Vegas!



Cybrarian at heart said...

This is so funny!

Perry Block said...

Thank you! A nice comment from another transcendentalist.