What I Haven’t Done This Summer, or “Don’t Go Breakin’ My Heart”

Herodotus Tom HollandChrist, what a summer.

I planned to read Herodotus.

If I were Mary Beard, the celebrity classicist, who, by the way, has a new book out, Laughter in Ancient Rome, I’d have finished Herodotus, written a book about him, edited articles and blogged for the TLS, reviewed for the New York Review of Books and LRB, lectured, starred in a BBC series  and possibly given a poetry reading.

Okay, I made up the poetry reading.

It makes me tired to think about it.

Occasionally around here we drink a glass of iced tea in the back yard or ride our bicycles.

I’ve been reading novels nonstop.

This month, I’ve devoted myself to 21st-century novels, though I’ve cheated with a ’30s E. H. Young because I needed more complex prose.

It has been one hell of a summer, though we’ve taken care of some of the problems.

Here  are the Top Five Misfortunes of the Summer.

1.  Garage was smashed when neighbor’s tree was knocked down in a storm (70 MPH winds.)  The demolition crew finally took the pieces away.  Ten years ago a tree fell on our house in a storm. What did we do to deserve this?

2.  Our favorite cat died.  We miss her.  I loved hanging out with her.

3.  I threw my back out biking, and cured myself with yoga stretches.  (Boring, but good for you.)

4.  I gained the same 10 pounds I’ve gained and lost for years.  Walk 10 miles, bicycle 100 miles a week, it really doesn’t matter, because my metabolism is zero.

5.  My mother’s best friend died on the 11th, almost exactly a year after my mother died.

I know you, too, have gone through your share of problems.

So why don’t you listen to this song by Elton John, performed by Elton and Kiki Dee, while I go read Herodotus?