discontent #2. Spring 1996





Discontent Again

I donít know how T.S. Eliot figured it out, but April really does suck donkeys. Maybe it’s because it’s the month when you realize that all of the stuff you’ve been saving up to do when winter is over still isn’t going to get done. My many interests are falling by the wayside. For example, I have yet to learn enough acoustic guitar to play at Open Mic Night, I still haven’t gotten information on how to buy and care for a small male gingko tree, and I’ve certainly given up all hope of becoming batik artist. All I could will myself to do this spring was drink coffee and rent movies and wonder why I didn’t want to go outside and cavort among the snow-drops. For a while I considered renaming this magazine "Malcontent" to reflect my new state of pique. (Actually, this has happened to me before; I find myself revolted by green, growing things, and also sunbathers, and I contemplate sitting in the closet dressed like Robert Smith and drinking gin-and-tonics.)

Now that May is here, I’m becoming accustomed to leaves and folks in shorts and Dads with lawn-mowers. And looking back objectively at the horror which is April, I’ve learned some things about being in a rut (rut, c’est moi) which may be of interest.

1. Do not have more than one double caffe latte per lunch hour or you will go crazy.
2. Do not let the fact that it’s lighter later tire you. Everyone must have a relaxing brew at 7 o’clock whether it looks like noon outside or not.
3. Experiment with movie rental. The art of movie rental is the essential rut-filler. It may not cure you, but it will make your malaise infinitely more bearable. My philosophy, as usual, hearkens back to food. It’s the Italian antipasto theory of film selection: try to choose both a melon movie and a prosciutto movie, so that you can achieve a stimulating blend of sweet and savory. For example, pick a genre from column A and one from Column B and you can’t go wrong.
A. B.
cheesy Ď80s high school movie movie in French
film with Sandra Bullock film made before 1940
directed by Tim Burton, Ivan Reitman directed by Jim Jarmusch, or Blake Edwards Hal Hartley, or Jane Campion

Sometimes you can get the correct blend within a single body of work. Witness the Stud ("Desperado") versus the Stutterer ("Women on the Verge...") roles of Antonio Banderas. Or Spielberg’s "Jurassic Park" next to "Schindler’s List" (everyone loves that one). But really the best combinations are completely disparate. Good ones I’ve seen are "The Professional" right after "Quiz Show," and there’s nothing like "Clerks" on a Saturday afternoon followed by a sedentary foreign film like "The Scent of Green Papaya."

4. To keep up your spirits take advantage of all celebration days (this is a good policy anyway, and the more you learn, the more excuses you have to leave work early or buy yourself a present--did you know that the French won some battle at Fontenoy on May 11, 1745? Party on!). Good April ones are: Wordsworth’s birthday (7th), Paul Revere’s ride (18th), the Queen’s birthday (21st), and Shakespeare’s birthday (23rd, they say). Although Kurt Cobain’s suicide date and Hitler’s birthday are also in April. Damme. It sucks donkeys all the way ’round.