I Hate Melville Scholars!!!

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The very last thing I’d ever want to be is a Melville scholar.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading Herman Melville’s novels, but, the idea of that being my vocation just feels wrong. It doesn’t feel necessary. I’ve never really heard of a situation that could be made better with the introduction of a Melville scholar. I can’t imagine Princess Leia squatting next to R2D2 pleading, “Help me, Melville scholar, you’re my only hope”. Frankly, it doesn’t even seem like a real field of study.

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Melville scholar Wyn Kelley shown in front of a boat because of course she is…

The world’s Melville scholars do NOT get together every few years to work out standards when it comes to Melville scholarship. This is hardly surprising because most of them cannot afford to fly and if they leave the refrigerator box in which they live, someone is bound to move in. And, frankly, Melville scholars don’t get along with one another… kind of like Siamese fighting fish. If a documentary crew invites one to comment on a book or an anniversary, the others need to be kept in restraints so that they do not attack the speaker. Melville scholars are VERY territorial…

Related imageJoyce scholars, on the other hand, ARE needed. Everyone, upon reading Ulysses for the first time, thinks to themselves, “What the HELL was I reading in the first three pages of this book that I am about fifteen seconds away from throwing into the trash bin?”. So, you either go out and find a book that is written ABOUT the book you are trying to read; or, you throw the book away and go outside and play. But, WHO writes the books that are ABOUT Ulysses? JOYCE SCHOLARS. Who reads them? OTHER JOYCE SCHOLARS. A Joyce scholar will only breed with another Joyce scholar; or, in a pinch, a Beckett scholar. It’s a closed system, like a biodome. By 2035 the population of Dublin is expected to be nearly two-thirds Joyce scholars…

A lot of people tell you to “do what you love and the money will follow”. Those people may not be idiots, but they are often mistaken for idiots by casual observers. My advice is a little more pragmatic: “Do what you like and marry someone who ISN’T doing what they like”. You get to enjoy life, earn a pittance and watch the soul being slowly sucked from your spouse. It’s a win/win/horrifying situation. But, you HAVE to do what you like.

Because, if you don’t, your life will be wasted; whereas, if you do everything you want to do, at the end of your life, you get a t-shirt and a home version of the game. Although, most afterlives have paradise attained through suffering, so you might want to ask your spouse to tell you his feelings so you can suffer through that long diatribe before rolling your eyes, sighing and getting back to it.

Rumor has it, there’s a documentary on Billy Budd and you are just waiting for that phone to ring…

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