Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mysterious Itches

The itch from which I have suffered for months (or, but with interruptions, for years) has recently become unbearable and, for the last few nights, has almost completely kept me from sleeping.

Besides, nothing appears on the outside; immediately under the skin, it is like a poison that wants to come out; an injection of extract of bedbugs.  Can it get more intense?  It doesn’t seem so.  But it can enlarge, spread to the whole body . . .

I think of Job looking for a piece of glass with which to scratch himself, and of Flaubert, whose correspondence, in the last part of his life, speaks of similar itchings.  I tell myself that each of us has his sufferings, and that it would be most unwise to long to change them; but I believe that a real pain would take less of my attention and would after all be more bearable.  And, in the scale of sufferings, a real pain is something nobler, more august; the itch is a mean, unconfessable, ridiculous malady; one can pity someone who is suffering; someone who wants to scratch himself makes one laugh.      André Gide, March 19, 1931

This is weird.  Yesterday I wrote about Flaubert, and today I find out that he and Gide (to say nothing of Job) had the same inexplicable itching – literally, I take it – that I’ve been having lately.  I told Kaye we must have bedbugs or something, but she’s not itching.  Well, it’s not that bad.  And I’m happy to find myself in such company, I think.  I notice that Flaubert had epilepsy, if Wikipedia is trustworthy.  It may as well be, as it’s what people get their information from these days.  Gide seems to have been a married homosexual.  Job may not have existed.  I’m beginning to see what my problem is . . . I guess I'll take an antihistamine.

Is it too prurient that I looked up these guys to see what I'm going to die of?

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