Wednesday, August 21, 2013
UNBRIDLED AND UNABRIDGED
Need your "lust for lexis" liberated? Look no further. From "Othello's Son, A Racial Education" by Frederic Morton in the September issue of Harper's Magazine:
I was terribly relieved by all this but couldn't tell a soul why. The detoxification of interracial saliva had for me a very private significance. It involved a certain black librarian of the 145th Street branch of the New York Public Library. MISS HARIETTE PONYTON said the sign on her table, but under the table hypnotic thighs bloomed out from her short skirt, exciting fierce fantasies that always began with much moist mingling of tongues, now proven medically harmless.
But there was something else about Miss Ponyton. Beyond a hot body, she had a key equally hot, to the vitrine housing Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. As she bent down, penetrated key into lock, she ignited both my libidos. The other was my lust for lexis. A mania for words had come upon me about a year after legs had become riveting. But there was a difference between the two obsessions. The woman thing simmered in all the other fellows too; it was the dominant locker-room theme. None of the other guys, though, were subject to this language itch of mine. In the library I could indulge myself. When Miss Ponyton unlocked the glass case and surrendered to me the Unabridged, I would hug that huge, ripe, luxuriant volume of more than 3,000 pages, opulent with synonyms, antonyms, metonyms, etymons, against my chest. I would then totter to the nearest table, plunk down my treasure, and pull out the slip of paper on which I'd scribbled terms like callipygian or bathycolpian, veiled iridescent mysteries that I could now undress into naked meaning.