By The Late William F. Buckley Jr.
dear reader, from the caliginous and forbidding confines of my new home.
I decline advisedly to employ the term “resting place,” because
such squalor defies any meaningful concept of placidity. Forget all those
biblical clichés—Hell is a place of enforced and unendurable
cohabitation; it truly is “other people.” My current “roomies”
include P.W. Botha, several Italians, one of Jane Goodall’s chimpanzees—who
admittedly surpasses the Italians in cleanliness and conversation; and
a fellow whose entire anatomy—head, torso and limbs—consists
of syphilitic penises. (It is rumored he used to be Roy Cohn until, during
dinner one evening, he poached the end piece of brisket from the table
without Satan’s permission and was thus permanently transfigured.)
You must forgive me, hereafter, any peevish outbursts:
I am doing my utmost to maintain a longanimous disposition under what
I am sure you will grant are uniquely adverse circumstances. This is not
the dignified quietus I had envisioned: sunning myself in Elysium, while
a Japanese girl defecates on my chest and sings, in her elided tongue,
the “Happy Days” theme with Bach’s accompaniment. The
mere thought makes my loins sizzle. Although this is alternately attributable
to the hot sulfur from the showerheads, as well as a dose of gonorrhea
I contracted during my first few weeks here, before I learned to sleep
with one eye open.
I will concede my current vantage affords an unexceeded
inspection of Michelle Obama’s undergarments. And I seriously doubt
it is within the powers of the Secret Service to do anything about that.
Goldwater and I have been feverishly swapping our voyeuristic cell phone
snapshots from the campaign trail. He has a flawlessly lascivious eye,
though I must say I find his enduring fixation with his former devotee,
Hillary Clinton, more than objectionable. (Protest if you will, I have
never found “cankles” at all becoming on any creature save
the Apatosaurus.) I know they’ve been exchanging text messages,
too. Who do you think gave her that “ringing phone” idea?
Oh, how far I am now from the briny, sparkling and inspiriting
thalassic paradise of my salad days where, beyond international maritime
boundaries and the moralizing invigilation of the Coast Guard, a young
man could explore his insatiable passion for cats without inhibition.
How differently things might have turned out for Eliot Spitzer if he’d
had my sea legs—and shared my predilection for a species whose testimony,
if it could be got, would scarcely be admissible in any court. I’ve
always said cats are the Mann Act’s best friend.
You can imagine my youthful chagrin when, entering a
“cathouse” for the first time as a Yalie, I discovered all
the options for debauchment to be irremediably human! Or, my impetuous
submission to Cat Fancy magazine, recounting, in a miscalculation
of that publication’s tenor and audience, a sweat-soaked tryst with
“Siamese twins.” It required a considerable effort of verbal
dexterity—not to mention a substantial sum of money, extorted by
the editors in the form of 5,000 subscriptions—to disentangle myself
and avoid any further or more public humiliation.
Regardless of National Review’s success
and esteem, I will forever rue my decision not to utilize its pages to
petition the public vigorously for a thoughtful reconsideration of interspecies
It’s almost noon here. The calefaction is crippling
and, what’s worse, the heat has a detoxifying effect on all the
booze. I’ve swilled oceans of martinis since I’ve been down
here and, apart from protracted stints in the john, it’s all been
for naught. I’m soberer than a Muslim at Ramadan.
Would that this were the totality of damnation’s
Satan is not at all a habitable host. His cooking is
endlessly reproachable and uniformly insipid. One is almost tempted, at
first, to grant him latitude on the point. In this climate, it’s
nearly impossible not to boil something beyond edibility. But he steadfastly
refuses to agree to any temporary abatement of the heat. He remains undaunted
by rising gas prices and never tires of reciting the names of his “dear
friends” in the oil business.
Moreover, had I any inclination that my ungulate host
was such an intemperate consumer of beans—and a boorishly prodigious
recycler of its gassy byproducts—I might have undertaken a more
thorough plan of contraception. In short, I would have fitted a condom
permanently on the end of my nose, rendering it impenetrable by all such
offending sensations. Indeed, what could be more quintessentially life
affirming—“pro life,” to belabor the point—than
sealing one’s most refined orifice against the encroachments of
such malodorous sustenance. No upstanding Catholic could expostulate about
And his personal hygiene far exceeds the bounds of any
brookable negligence. He is positively jumentous—redolent of Reagan
who, dear to me though he will forever be, was in his later years explosively,
unapproachably incontinent. I was only slightly surprised to learn Mr.
President had been denied official entrée to Hades Proper for that
very reason. There he sits, beyond the gates, mindlessly uttering his
denials about Iran-Contra, a perpetual stream of urine blotting his pants,
pooling at his feet and trickling down into the River Styx.
Well, I won’t bore you any longer with the vicissitudes
of my perpetuity. Besides, I must prepare for lunch. Rich Lowry is stopping
by—I hadn’t realized he and the Dark Lord were so close, though
I probably should have expected. Lowry’s coming to collect my excrement,
to examine it for material for his next column. No, that’s not a
figure of speech.