Wednesday 6 July 2022

'It's just not a word I like'

I just came across this quotation from my exact coeval Tom Waits: 
'I don’t have fun. Actually, I had fun once, in 1962. I drank a whole bottle of Robitussin cough medicine and went in the back of a 1961 powder-blue Lincoln Continental to a James Brown concert with some Mexican friends of mine. I haven’t had fun since. It’s just not a word I like. It’s like Volkswagens or bellbottoms, or patchouli oil or bean sprouts. It rubs me up the wrong way. I might go out and have an educational and entertaining evening, but I don’t have fun.' No doubt Waits was stringing an interviewer along when he came out with this, but I can see his point. There is something tiresome about the constant celebration and pursuit of 'fun', a thing that often turns out in practice to be anything but (and yet one feels obliged to pretend it is, as promised, fun). As Johnson observed: 'Nothing is more hopeless than a scheme of merriment.'

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