Archive September 2010

The armpits of my shirt 0

Dear Bradshaw,

Luca, one of my private students, is ten years old. I know his parents but rarely see them because they’re always at work when I come and go so the nanny lets me in. For this reason I was surprised last week when his father entered the room with two friends from the United States. His friends had never met Luca, so he introduced them briefly then left us to our lesson. At the end of the hour, while passing through the living room, I stopped to chat with the father and his guests but, having another lesson, I soon excused myself. While continuing toward the front door, I said to the father (who used to be overweight but had trimmed down considerably), “You look great! You’ve lost weight.” But I was distracted and had confused verbs, using ingrassare instead of dimagrire. So actually I had said, “You’ve gained weight.” Though it didn’t occur to me until later that evening when I remembered how he had glanced at his friends, then covered his stomach and said, “Oh, yeah, well, maybe I have.” continue reading »

18 people like this post.

To cook rats in Bombay 0

Dear Bradshaw,

One of my students last week was Marco, the marketing manager of a pharmaceutical company. When I asked, “If you could snap your fingers and, just like that, invent a product that could do anything, what would it be?” Marco leaned back in his seat and said, “Well, first of all, it’s important that, as a product, it relieve and not cure the problem.”

I tilted my head and asked, “Why’s that?”

“Because if it cures the problem then there won’t be any need for the product. My job is to alleviate the symptoms. That way we have a customer for life.” continue reading »

18 people like this post.

The luck of the draw 0

Yo Shaw,

How’s life, my friend? Good? Bad? Ugly? I suppose for you things are rarely good. But then again what do I know? After all, everything’s relative, isn’t it? As Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor, wrote in Man’s Search For Meaning, “This is the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

I think life’s about being alive and appreciating minor miracles, like a beam of sunlight glinting off the balcony rail or the sound and vibrations of a cat purring in your arms. It’s important how you live your life and to enjoy it. The quest, I think, is for an experience of life. continue reading »

18 people like this post.

Ten thousand years from now 0

Dear Bradshaw,

I’m back in Rome, sitting in my living room on the beanbag, drinking wine. I’m so tired I don’t know which way is up, down, sideways, inside out, outside in or anything else. I’m delirious. Confused. Not because of the wine. (Not only anyway.) But because I’m jet-lagged. I’d like to lie down in bed and sleep but am waiting for a reasonable hour. Otherwise, I risk suffering the time difference for days, weeks even. After all, it’s nine hours later here, which means 7pm instead of 10am. Clearly, I should be wide-awake but I’m not, and that’s the pith of my problem. continue reading »

20 people like this post.

Scott Sussman is powered by WordPress and FREEmium Theme.