Walker Percy Wednesday 82


Then they sat in their house at Pass Christian, put a bottle of whiskey between them, felt a surge of happiness, were able to speak frankly and cheerfully to each other, laugh and joke, drink, even make love. But that is crazy. Why should people be miserable in good weather and happy in bad? Surely not because they are sinners in good weather and saints in bad. True, people help each other in catastrophes. But they don’t feel good because they help each other. They help each other because they feel good. No, it’s because something has happened to us which is so bad that we don’t even have a word for it. Sin isn’t the word. Your Christ didn’t exactly foresee anything like this, did he? Hurricanes, which are very bad things, somehow neutralize the other bad thing which has no name, so that one can breathe easy, become free once again to sin or not to sin. The couple I spoke of became free and happy only during the passage of the eye of the hurricane, that is, capable of both love and hate (ordinarily they were numb, moved like ghosts), of honesty and lying.


No, it was so much simpler than that. It was simply that there is such a thing as a beautiful day to go out into, a road to travel, good food to eat when you’re hungry, wine to drink when you’re thirsty, and most of all, 99 percent of all, no: all of all: a woman to love.


There are only three ways to go. One is their way out there, the great whorehouse and fagdom of America. I won’t have it. The second way is sweet Baptist Jesus and I won’t have that. Christ, if heaven is full of Southern Baptists, I’d rather rot in hell with Saladin and Achilles. There is only one way and we could have had it if you Catholics hadn’t blown it: the old Catholic way.


If I were a Jew, I’d know what to do. It’s easy. I’d be in Israel with the sabras. They’re my kind. The only difference between them and the Crusaders is that the Crusaders lost. Ha, isn’t that a switch, come to think of it—that the only Crusaders left in the entire Western world are the Israelis, the very Jews who huddled and shrank and grinned and nodded for two thousand years? The Jews are lucky. They know who they are and they have Israel. We have to make our own Israel, but we know who we are.