For once, I wrote something in Dutch. I was sitting under slate skies on the shore of Lake IJsselmeer and this came out. Since few of my readers can read Dutch, I will present an (alas insufficient) translation. For those ghostly readers more familiar with that language, they can scroll down.
This is the advice I can give to those who are small and good-natured and want to pursue the best qualities in themself…
Greet no one on the streets. Take off your hat for no one. Resolutely slap the crying child when circumstances dictate to do so. Pick up the phone only if you have a desire for talking. Never answer letters on time. Ignore the dog that casts sad looks from underneath the table. Blow your nose in your hand and wipe it on a child’s comely golden locks. Play with wildest temperament your electric guitar in the darkest nights. And pick a bouquet of flowers for your loved-one from the tombstones of the graveyard.
Be endlessly generous in mocking the foolish, the witless and insensitive. Pardon not a single breach, it isn’t free you know. Wipe your arse with beggars’ letters. Do not refrain from larceny and murder. Stamp on wooden floors, talk too loud with people standing close by. Belch and stink, alike a dog. Decomb your hair, decay your teeth, grow your fingernails yellow and monsterly. And serenade your loved-one with a crooked trombone.
Stare the women at their tits, don't apologize for nature. Never settle for second best. Don’t laugh apologetically for other people’s faults. Mock all spend-thrifts, public lovers, cripples. No mercy, no ‘understanding’. Leave no sin unavenged, turn no cheeks. Live by the principle ‘he started it’. Decline the tepid glass, wipe from the table the stale old bread. Don’t lift your feet when mother wants to vacuum at that place. Play someone else if need be; fake yourself, be salonfähig, sycophantic… completely false. And kiss your loved-one with garlic in your mouth.
Put a dead bird in your neighbours milk can. Freeze the people with a haunting grin. Spit a priest before his feet. Urinate from your garret window when the moon is full and bright. See the world as a storm of storms. Become high & low reviled, dastardly, heinous. Never discuss Religion, Ethics, Love, Being or Knowing. Don’t explain yourself to people who understand nothing. Calculate the number of the beast and deduct it from your taxes. Poison the city’s water supply. And tell your loved-one you love her, despite it all.
Place visitors in your second-best seat on a Monday. Wear outrageous pantaloons of green seal pup fur on Tuesday. On Wednesdays, wear a big red moustache and a golden beard. On Thursdays, run 500 miles. Visit close-by asteroids on Friday, and wonder about the men who live there. Water your flower on a Saturday. And on Sunday, fool yourself in thinking someone loves you.These are some of the sacrifices you will have to make to become, in the end, a valued and accepted human being.