Prolegomenon

I am weak-willed, no doubt about it. I'm also afflicted with an addiction to addictions; is meta-addiction even a word?

It's reported that the following conversation once took place between Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley:
Shelley: "What makes you write?"
Byron:    "My inability to prevent it."
And then there's that wonderful speech from Oscar Wilde to the audience of the opening night performance of his Lady Windermere's Fan,
"Ladies and gentlemen: I have enjoyed this evening immensely. The actors have given us a charming rendering of a delightful play, and your appreciation has been most intelligent. I congratulate you on the great success of your performance, which persuades me that you think almost as highly of the play as I do myself."
Anyone who reads "egocentrism" into Oscar's comment is missing the point. And that takes us back to Byron again.

It probably sounds anomalous, but writing does not necessarily imply reading, at least to my way of seeing things. I have long felt that language preceded thought, and so writing this memoir is little more than thinking made concrete. Literary masturbation, if you will. Still, one of my heroes has always been the great mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss who spouted in some disdain:
But in our opinion, truths of this kind should be drawn from notions rather than from notations.
And yet, like Oscar, it tickles me no end when someone discerns the semantics cloaked within the syntax; the urge is then on to write more clearly, more deeply and most important, more beautifully. I'll be happy to scratch the surface of any of the three.

Incidentally, since so much of this memoir will be devoted to language, don't you find it curious that the pun-like nature of the Gauss quote, above, translates so similarly from his native German tongue?

One other thing rouses me from the slumber of a dull mature life and keeps me going: there's no way I can fail to leave behind an account of Itchy Archer. Seriously! That you are seeing this memoir at all is due entirely to a forty-five year old memory of Itchy. Synapses are really weird, don't you think?


This is an accounting of the life of an Iowa sociopath. It seeks neither to defend nor explain but merely to describe. If it leaves you shaking your head, then its purpose has been served. If it makes you want to read Babbitt, then again its purpose has been served. But most especially, if titters come on from time to time for no apparent reason, then its purpose has indeed been served.

I suppose I should offer a few words concerning the authenticity of what follows.

These events, yet to be described, really did happen and to real people. But, sensitive person that I am, various names, places and times have been slightly disguised. Part of this is to protect the guilty; now that's a twist on Joe Friday's disclaimer. Believe me, I've spent most of my life surrounded by guilty parties and wouldn't have had it any other way.

But then again, none of it is true, if that makes any never-mind to you. Don’t come knocking at my door if you think you recognize yourself in the following tales. I’ll just pretend you’re a Jehovah’s Witness and turn you away like all other cutpurse peddlers loitering on the stoop.

In short, if I'm going to be busted, I want it to be for gross indecency and not libel.

And, oh, the title of this memoir? May I point you toward Case #35 in Dr. Krafft-Ebing's Psychopathia Sexualis

Next installment: First Steps