SANTA FE, New Mexico: This week, reclusive writer Cormac McCarthy (author of Blood Meridian, Suttree, No County For Old Men, and The Road) begins his syndicated self-help column with Doubletake. An expert on the human condition, in all its dark nooks and sinister crannies, McCarthy spent his last Macarthur Fellowship counseling reformed headhunters in New Guinea.
The author, peering into the deep void of human relationships.
My sister “Fran” and her husband “Jim” have been happily married for ten years. But this past year they have become much more distant from each other; they hardly ever talk anymore and, from what I can gather, they now sleep in separate rooms. Jim works very long hours at an investment bank, so coming home late is not unusual…until last week, that is: Fran smelled Air Wick all over him (Fran uses Renuzit, so this was clearly the scent of another woman).
On the one hand, I want to intervene to save their marriage, but on the other, I’d like them to resolve this conflict on their own. How should I handle this?
DEAR SEASIDE BREEZE,
This connubial conflict is not a hearth, but a pyre that may waft with shadowsmells but also reek with offal.
At smoking dawn, though we may wake ragged and bloody like the afterguard of some ruined army retreating across the meridians of chaos and old night, though we may even throw our own horses on the pyre with nothing rising on the pale windless horizon, at dusk we may also lift the dessicated heads of our enemies aloft, shishkaboblike.
My mother, who is 78 and single, has started seeing a 42 year-old. Although “Stan” seems very polite, he has been unemployed ever since he met my mother– and even decided to move in with her before getting married. Even though some may say this is acceptable, I believe they must sanctify their relationship in the eyes of a loving God. I also think that it is not Christian to sit on someone’s front porch all day, drinking Old Milwaukee and whistling at sorority sisters who walk by. What measures should I take?
Yours in the Lord,
DEAR GALATIANS 2:20,
Procure half a dozen fresh corpses and after slicing off the left ear of each arrange these parts at even intervals on a coral necklace or if coral is unavailable intestines will do. Accost Stan wearing necklace and he will soon inherit a world which bears him false witness to a stony god.
I am a gi-normous fan of your books, but my girlfriend thinks they’re brutal and sexist. WTF? Last week, we got into this huge argument over John Glanton from Blood Meridian. She says his treatment of the injuns and mexicans is “sick and sadistic,” but I say he’s just misunderstood. That’s why he gets upset, steals their food, and scalps them. It’s payback, pure and simple, for them not getting on board with manifest destiny and America.
I think this is a flag in our relationship and there’s only one flag I want to see rising every day, if you know what I mean.
–STARS AND STRIPES IN HOUSTON
DEAR STARS AND STRIPES,
Like a midwife I snatch thee aloft by the heels, a naked twisted slobbering fool who rises into the pale twilight of birth. Depart from the town rabble and join the motley troupe of mimefolk. Wordlessly they walk against the wind. Over bloodsoaked coals they hover listening and glimpse their own ends in the stark ashen skulls of their victims.
Do not turn dead vacant eyes upon me like a leering fan of Oprah’s Book Club. Beware: in the marketplace Harpo agents peddle Love in the Time of Cholera.