Friday, May 27, 2005


Grapes and Cherries

The solecism pour over for pore over is regrettably not uncommon. Once upon a time I did pour over a book. I was an undergraduate, and I borrowed Ernst Robert Curtius' European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages from one of my professors. I was poring over it while having breakfast, and I poured some grape juice on it by accident. At first I tried first to wipe the juice off while it was still wet, and later I tried to scrape it off with a razor blade when it was dry. But repair was impossible, and I finally had to return the damaged book with an abject apology.

I'm unlucky with other people's possessions. One summer in graduate school I lived in the house of one of my professors, while he was off gallivanting around Greece. I mowed the lawn and did other chores in return for a free place to stay. Before he left, the professor instructed me to take special care of a cherry tree he had planted in his back yard. A week before he returned, things started to go bad. First, I managed to break the seat on his commode (don't ask how). That was easy enough to replace. But then a terrific storm blew through town and destroyed his precious cherry tree. That I couldn't fix.

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