I will read most any book. If I start it, I tend to commit myself to finishing it, no matter how painful it is do so, always holding out hope that somewhere along the way it will change and treat me better. "I don't understand," I'll say, "she treats everyone else so nicely…everyone just talks about how great she is. Why must she shit on my eyeballs and make sacrifice of my rapidly disappearing brain cells to her objectivist god. Is there an objectivist god? Should I have capitalized 'god'?" What I just gave you, is a pathetic rendition of the abusive relationship I had with The Fountainhead. On a whim I decided to check it out of the library since it tends to be one of the more talked about books (some words good, some words bad), right up there with The Da Vinci Code, another book probably worth avoiding. I can't remember if my general rule is to judge things without any knowledge of them, or to judge things with full knowledge of them. Whatever the case, I feel the need to say my piece on The Fountainhead.
My first clue that I should not even have started was the author's introduction. If I've ever seen or read a person more sure of not just themself, but also the impact they have had, I can't think of it. Still, I disregarded this, separate the man from the music type of thing, art from the artist if you will. I mean, I still like Barry Bonds. I have no idea why. I loved him from my youth. I still have a poster of him hitting a home run in game six of the 1992 NLCS. It was Barry's first post-season homerun and one of his few hits in that series (this was before we had all that wild card crap) as he batted somewhat generously below the Mendoza line if my memory serves me correctly. The Braves, essentially the 1990's Bills of Baseball, went on to win the series, though, when Bonds' throw was a little too slow to beat Sid Bream. That's back when Barry could move more than his biceps. I still love him. As far as I am concerned he's Clean and Clear and under control. Slightly back on target then, despite a rather inauspicious preface, I still decided to read the book.
My next warning should have been the first page rule. This can even be abridged to first paragraph or first sentence rule. The idea is simply that a book, article, whatever the Hell, should capture your interest within that first sentence, paragraph, or page. Does my own writing comply to this rule? Probably not, but I also have never written nor published anything of alleged note. That said, I kept reading. Maybe I expected it to improve? Wrong. The characters are one-dimensional and unrealistic and the plotline predictable. I realize Rand has a philosophy. Good for her. She wrote some other books, that maybe espouse the same thing. She certainly wrote some non-fictional treatises. Further congratulations. But I can't be mad at Rand. I didn't ever have to keep reading. But I did, and I think if the book had been maybe seven-hundred pages shorter (give or take) I might have enjoyed it a little more. If Ayn Rand were still alive I would tell her that The Fountainhead was mostly a steaming pile of feces. Then, since this is hypothetical, she would respond with something like, "was, or is?" Maybe "is" should be in italics. And I would tell her that I used the past tense because the steam has mostly risen and it's more of a fossilized feces these days, which I would admit I did mostly for alliterative purposes. Maybe she would call me a second-hander and tell me that even if I thought my opinions were created in my own mind, they hadn't been, and that I was not a creationist, and just another of those that tears down the selfish creationist. And then I would tell Rand [McNally] that it is awfully coincidental to have a book titled Atlas Shrugged and she might ask me what the Hell I was talking about except if she's anything like the characters in her book she had already predicted and foreseen (don't tell me that is redundant) all that I would do and say and so nothing actually needs to be said, which is my argument for why her book did not need to be written. QED.
And in the meantime I have been trying to log in to my insurance's online navigation system for which I had forgotten both my user id and password. The user id was no problem, but the password asked me to provide an answer to a security question about my favorite food. My first effort was soundly rejected, prompting me to try another plausible response. When that was rejected, I attempted a third response only to be rejected worse than I was by Dartmouth College. That's okay, I wouldn't have wanted to go there anyway, but I did want to see if my insurance was actually paying for any of my nine thousand doctors' visits. So now I'm sitting here, not only unable to log in to my insurance navigator, but having serious doubts about what my favorite food is. "I've changed," I'm telling myself. "I don't even know me anymore."
And that's all for now while I try to figure out if I actually exist.