Sunday, September 14, 2014
It's a Wonderful Rat-Race, by James Powell
I guess it makes a sort of sense that when my friend James Powell writes about madness the result is slightly less crazy than his usual work. His usual tale contains a free-association of bizarre connections, like a garden sprinkler shooting water in all directions. This one is more tightly focused (although he does offer some odd riffs on human conception and the well-known Jimmy Stewart movie).
Obsession is either comic or tragic, depending on how close you stand to the fallout. Hilda Ross is a neatnik. She is delighted when her grown children move away because she can finally get wall-to-wall white carpeting. And she loves her house and her less fastidious neighbor, because "to really succeed neatness-wise you needed a messy best friend."
But one day that friend's husband casually releases a piece of folk wisdom that turns Hilda's life upside down, turning good into bad, light into dark, and-- Well, you have to read it.