WALKER PERCY WEDNESDAY 52

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The first thing a man remembers is longing and the last thing he is conscious of before death is exactly the same longing. I have never seen a man die who did not die in longing.

. . .

As for me, I was a smart boy and at the age of twenty-six bade fair to add luster to the family name for the first time since Sir Thomas More himself, that great soul, the dearest best noblest merriest of Englishmen. My contribution, I hasten to add, was in the realm of science not sanctity. Why can’t I follow More’s example, love myself less, God and my fellowman more, and leave whiskey and women alone? Sir Thomas More was merry in life and death and he loved and was loved by everyone, even his executioner, with whom he cracked jokes. By contrast, I am possessed by terror and desire and live a solitary life. My life is a longing, longings for women, for the Nobel Prize, for the hot bosky bite of bourbon whiskey, and other great heart-wrenching longings that have no name. Sir Thomas was right, of course, and I am wrong. But on the other hand these are peculiar times . . .

. . .

I haven’t seen a Christian Englishman for years—and I left off research, left off eating Christ in Communion, and took to sipping Early Times instead and seeking the company of the fair sex, as they used to say.