"It Is Wrong to Speak Ill of the Dead"
I take this old bromide as authorization to speak ill of the living.
Take Mr. K, for example. We all know that he has an extended circle of admirers, not limited to his family and close friends. But it may be the case that selfishly he has arranged his life in such a way as to protect himself from stress by means of this Palace Guard.
Beyond that, a non-exhaustive litany:
- He expresses himself oddly at times.
- If it is true, as they say, that by the age of 50 every man has the face he deserves, then Mr. K would seem to have collected a lot of frightful karma. (Perhaps the "K" stands for "karma"?)
- He is bored to death by little children who are not his own.
- He finds it nearly impossible to apologize or to admit defeat.
- His amusement at stupidities often comes across as directed at the speaker rather than at what was just spoken.
- He has very little physical courage. He is afraid of mountain tops (and hence of skiing), of waves over his head, of large dogs of unknown disposition, of horses running towards him to get a carrot.
- When he hears classical music on the radio or on television, he pretends to conduct it, using grandiose hand gestures and whatever lies close to hand that might pass for a baton -- a stick, a fork, a ruler. No one but he thinks that this is funny.
- Of the cardinal virtues, he has some Charity, a flickering Faith that is erratic and mercurial, and no Hope that is worth mentioning.
- He thinks of himself as open-hearted; others think of him as "remote."
- While he generally is loyal, he seems to keep a secret, cold-hearted tally sheet on everybody, and a truly trivial misstep can be a "tipping point." Such tipping points most often lead to permanent banishment.
- He finds it easy to admire women, but most easy to admire women who are young and pretty.
- He likes to be subversive for its own sake.
- His tears are kept always in a cistern, contaminated.
- He is so vain that he probably thinks this list is about him.
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