Once again, I discover my own unoriginality. This time it is in the Georgetown branch of Urban Outfitters. I am standing around waiting, while one of my daughters makes a valiant effort to persuade herself that the expensive garments on offer do not look as if they've been made from Ye Olde Tea Shoppe's discarded lace tablecloths and someone's great aunt's boarding house curtains circa 1957. In fact, she is doing more than that - she is engaged in an attempt to suspend her own disbelief and brainwash herself into believing that these misshapen, ill-formed rags might actually appear smart, even elegant and chic, should she ever pluck up the courage to wear them in public view.
I pick up a book (Urban Outfitters sells them too, along with 'quirky knick knacks', in case you've never had the pleasure of entering the store). I don't notice the book's name. The Hundred Best Things Anyone Said? The Hundred Most Brilliant Statements Ever Made? A Hundred Things to Know Before You Die (that 'before you die' franchise is doing surprisingly well, considering its dashing use of the great unmentionable ie death)?
Inside there are a load of banalities by Alain de Botton and other such burblers. Then I turn a page and find this:
"A true friend is the greatest of all blessings and that which we take the least care of all to acquire". La Rochefoucauld.
Yes, I think, that's what I was trying to say.
(The daughter failed to persuade herself, by the way, which may possibly be a sign: if you're holding Urban Outfitters shares, you might want to tell your broker to sell).
Very sad news … - … *Nelson Shanks, 1937-2015*. Oh, my. The second friend to die this week. A great artist, and an absolutely delightful man. I feel chilly and grown old.
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