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What Is an Intellectual?

I’ve always voraciously consumed the news, but I’m checking out during Les Folies Trump. As I drove home from visiting a hospice patient yesterday, I listened to KUSC instead tuning in to “All Things Considered.” After “The William Tell Overture,” which I turned up to a deafening level and thoroughly enjoyed, the announcer asked, “What is an intellectual?”  He answered his own question: “Someone who can listen to ‘The William Tell Overture’ without thinking of ‘The Lone Ranger.’” That made me laugh out loud, and despite the hazy, grief-stricken pall of the day, I felt a small spark of joy.

As we do every four years, we invited the neighbors in to watch the returns Tuesday night.  I chose these wines both facetiously and with an undercurrent of nervousness.


As you can see, they remain unopened because the gathering went quiet pretty quickly and the crowd dispersed without partying much.

I won’t be able to bear reading or hearing about the Donald and his Super Model, so in the coming months I’ll pass my free time reading, writing, and listening to music instead. I’m going to start with the work of Irish poet Michael Longley:

The Design

Sometimes the quilts were white for weddings, the


Made up of stitches, and the shadows cast by stitches.

And the quilts for funerals? How do you sew the


The sky may indeed be falling, but at least for awhile, I’m going to pretend not to know about it.


About treacycolbert

I make my living by writing about health care. I've always written about life's chastening effect, but just as a way of sorting it out for myself. After years of doing this and keeping these essays quiet, I decided to put some of these impressions out there on this blog. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think.

4 responses »

  1. Just read this, and I’m crying again.

  2. Yeah. I am speechless and I’m going to the studio and make art.


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