She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed.

So, anyway, I was perusing my past writing — as one does — and it occured to me that I am a terrible writer, not fit to shine Shakespeare’s boots, let alone trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries. Me and my ilk should be rounded up and herded behind the barn and shot. What makes me so bad at what I do is at the fundamental level, even before I put pen to paper, I am a subpar thinker. Auguste Rodin sure enough would never carve a statue of me in marble, or even some inferior stone, like shale, sandstone or nay — not even styrofoam. Pas “le penseur” que je suis. Not in April, May, June, July, and certainly never in August, Auguste.

As the above passage so aptly illustrates, I have severe and chronic difficulty forming coherent sentences. I am easily distracted by other trains of thought — kind of a free association free for all free fall (hey, that’s good. Note to self: Self, make a note of that).

So, anyway, the other night I was doing “research,” otherwise known as surfing the net for obscure trivia no one cares about, and I found a whole chain of utterly useless trivia that I wanted to write about: it seems there was this painting by an artist named Richard Dadd entitled The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke, which he worked on between 1855 and 1864. He painted them while in Bethlem and Broadmoor — notorious psychiatric hospitals — where he was incarcerated for patricide. Perhaps you have heard of Bethlem Royal Hospital, better known as Bedlam?

I once saw a photograph of this painting in a magazine, and I clipped it out and saved it. It is a wonderful painting of fairies in a forest, and in the center there is a woodsman about to cleave a chestnut with his tiny axe. I did not know the sad history of the painter, but nevertheless, was fascinated by the intricate detail of this fairy wonderland. Upon learning that Richard Dadd had murdered his father, I could not restrain myself from making a pun along the lines of ‘Richard Dadd’s poor dad.’ May I be forgiven for this transgression? Puns are considered the lowest form of humor by those who didn’t think of it first.

So, anyway, back to the rabbit-hole I was falling down: “Orange marmalade? “This looks good,” I said as I took the jar from one of the shelves. I was saying? Oh, yeah. I was reading about Richard Dadd, and then come to find out he was friends with another inmate, W. C. Minor, who was one of the main contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary. This led to a plethora of grim and gory details, but I am afraid it will have to wait, as I am pulling the plug on this operation, and moving to the galley where I have been assigned numerous chores. KP, you know. Potatoes aren’t going to peel themselves. But there was a film made about this individual, and it is entitled The Professor and the Madman. Though it stars Sean Penn, one could also argue that he has a Minor role.

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