Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Evantine Order for the Very Calm Life: Rule Five

Mammon, unclaimed by any responsibility perceived by thy wife, shall be found in sufficient quantities in thy wallet upon entering a book selling establishment.

As the Scriptures say, "Money answers everything. While most Americans would freely chorus that loads of money would contribute to the Very Calm Life as they imagine it to be, this rule is about the "thing" purchased while remaining guilt free. We mentioned last rule that "pretty and lusty" was not a grant for totalitarian control. Still, in order to keep the pretty one in your marriage free from temptation to be contentious and fretful, we must not spend the children's milk money on books. But books are the point. The residue of a civilization is in these magical things.

Think for a moment on how perfect the needed interface between centuries is solved by the phonetic alphabet (Peace be upon the Phoenicians) , the invention of movable type (Peace be upon Gutenburg), and the sewn signature codex. Computers are a tool to that glorious end but they cannot compete for kingship in the interface. Sure all of this and more is on the Internet, but let's be frank, it isn't yours until you print it out. Then what do you have? A pile of paper, that's what. Your portion, your pillage of the Past is not to be had for keystroke, log in, and laser printer. The selection in your personal library announces the measure of your fief. What did you purchase? What did you want to know and how permanently did you want to have the source of that knowledge at hand to know again? A man or woman is measured to him, herself, and any that enter their library (please tell me you have one) by the collection. Staring down on us are spines declaring information which only years of conversation with the owner of the collection would give you. Do you see Dr. Johnson or Dr. Phil? And it is even more insulting if the second doctor is in hardback (and if they don't know of whom I was speaking regarding the first).

You cannot declare more about yourself and you cannot arrive at that place so declared, without books. Thus it is that the growth and change of your collection must never be hampered by insufficient funds as you stare at the outer door of a used book establishment. Many a wife will measure her best beloved by his checkbook, his knowledge of household appliances, his diligence in career. What those are is a slight momentary read such as a garden thermometer or the weather report for the week. His library, O goodwife, is the climate and the seasonal prospect of the place in which you dwell. Next time you walk into it (having, of course, genuflected at the door), stand a moment in its rich silence, then politely thank them.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Evantine Order for the Very Calm Life: Rule Four

Varieties of tobacco,
every desired kind of thine and thy friends,
shall plenteously fill thy storehouses,
shaken down and running over.

This is at least as important as the possession of a Good Wife to the advancement of Calm. Kipling famously said, "And a woman is only a woman but a good cigar is a smoke." In that poem (The Betrothed, see poster for sale here) the potential wife is demanding that her future husband choose between her and his cigars. Each Rule of the Very Calm Life is expected by the Abbot to "play well with the others". A wife with Calm providings will not deny you the other providers of Calm. No woman is pretty enough or lusty enough, to deny you butter, bacon, or books. Let her also not be peevish about tobacco. "Pretty and lusty" only can bring part of the Calm to a man. Let the shoemaker stick to his last.

Many years ago, I was (and am now) a smoker of both pipe and cigar. Also many years ago, the ministry in which my Amazing Missus and I engaged (and do now) is that of hospitality. The one was for me in my thinky moments and the other was for the Kingdom of God. And then an epiphany of goodness, pleasure, and the essential growth in Calm Living was given. A close friend of mine, as I visited him in his office, offered me a cigar. It was a very good cigar and it was offered within his office. The two worlds of thinky moments and hospitality became one. This friend, this saint, this "angel-straight-from-God" continued this offering every time I went by to see him. I solemnly affirmed that I would measure hospitality thusly, a "Hail Fellow, Well Met" sort of hospitality and that I might bless others as he did me.

The world of men (and very good women) wears the smell of burning tobacco as a badge of danger, thought, camaraderie, and conversation. Hold this leather chaired bliss out against a nanny-state world that is trying, with all engines running, to drive any semblance of "hearth side" from our allowance and cultural memories. As an aside, dastards like Mayor Bloomberg of NYC have moved to destroy any good thing that gives "enjoyment" higher status than "health" (he has banned trans fats and is working on salt). Men are not "allowed" to even smoke within the four walls for which their hard work has paid. All this is becoming an inhospitable Utopia where long life at any cost becomes the Hell they insist on calling Heaven. But we know, (don't we men?), that nothing can match (no pun intended) the bliss of staggering up from a table of eye-crossing victuals which ran with rivulets of "fat things", waddling into the library and lighting up a combustible dessert that some "man of God" pressed into your chubby hand. Let the welcome matte be laid out for similarly longing comrades. After food and drink, tobacco runs up the score. And when you offer a cigar, make it a good cigar wrapped in the memories of being rolled on the thighs of a large Jamaican woman.

By "plenteously", my friends, I mean so much or many that no note of selfishness will beset you as you open the box before them. Our Lord asks us to make friends for ourselves with unrighteous mammon. If I hand a visitor to my home three dollars, my gift would be soon forgotten. Make it a three dollar cigar and you have bought yourself a friend, for the same small monetary value, yes, but mixed with rare place and priceless company. This is a largesse, the scattering of which makes eternal friends. And nowadays what could be more "unrighteous" than smoking.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tub Time: Who Do You Think You Are?

Someone asked me the other day, "What is up with the perpetually offended?" I have written of these sorts before but an angle presented itself as I floated on my sea of Archimedean Displacement and Ivory Soap (it floats).
Let us say that someone gossiped about you. In other words, you were a victim of gossip. If you were a person of perpetual offense, you would say that "So-and-So sinned against me." While the phrasing is perhaps valid the meaning is not. So-and-So sinned against God with you as the victim. When you suggest to your own outraged feelings that the sin was against you, you suggest that you had promulgated a law against gossip and S0-and-So had failed to obey your law.

Now we can understand better the white rage with which the offended pose.
These twerps think they are gods.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Evantine Order for the Very Calm Life: Rule Three

Thou shalt have one lusty member of the weaker sex as thy spouse.

Does this go without saying? I'm just askin'.

For those whose sensitivities have been compromised by the Spirit of the Age (perhaps to the extent that they voted for Obama) this may seem a bit archaic, a bit medieval, the droolings of an unenlightened Idaho hick. Perhaps you are a man who doesn't want or wish for the Very Calm Life. Perhaps your version of life would invite the term "gelding" or perhaps you are just a little light in the loafers.
Perhaps you are offended at the patriarchal presumption this rule seems to take.
(I believe that one ought be a gentleman in the treatment of women and if the delicately nurtured have felt a little off putting occurred with words like "lusty" and "weaker", I completely understand and encourage you to read no further and perhaps leave this blog altogether.)
Perhaps that "Perhaps" was not the complaint of the delicately nurtured.
Perhaps you are a member of the "Sisters of the Fretted and Fevered Brow", the women who are angry at the supposition that they are (as the rule stated) the "weaker sex" but find that they are not strong enough to do anything about it. Bummer. That. has. got. to. sting.

The Evantine Abbey is a monastic order not a nunnery. You can make your own rules for the chicks. Heck, if you wait long enough I might get around to writing some. Number three could be rewritten to say, "Thou shalt have one strong man ("Que es Mas Macho" rating of 7 or higher) to tell you how to vote and stuff."

But to the real need and point, what is this rule not saying?
Marriage does not make the Very Calm Life. In fact the Scriptural Proverb in the running for the most repeated is "Better to dwell in the corner of the roof than under it with a contentious and fretful woman." Many women do not bring Calm along with them.

Points affirmed by the rule: This woman whom thou shalt marry will be the "weaker sex" referential to you. An Achilles can marry an Amazon but a Casper MilkToast had better not. A wife is not here to remake you, protect you, and provide for you. The weakness brings gentleness from the husband, and a more precise and civilized gentility.
The Scriptures say "Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them." Colossians 3:19
and "Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered." I Peter 3:7
It also provides, as a more jeopardized citizenry in a man's kingdom, a greater need of clear border and better, wiser government.
She is given, in this protection, a realm, a domestic vision and a finite prospect for her efforts and daily contribution. Good things, that men like, get builded there. While a man has a more imperial prospect than his wife, the Calm Life exists most measured in the intimate aspect within the doors of his abode. The details, well builded, produce a calm which, like the smell of baking bread, reach the far corners of his imperial attempts and benefit those efforts. The civilization a good wife provides reaches out to inform the broader world of the benefit of that married couple's kingdom. And those Philistines you know(whose wives work professionally but don't domestically) will look on your archaic, medieval, and hickish life and wonder at, and perhaps damn, the beatific calm.

Don't think I skipped lightly over the word "lusty". A man wouldn't, nay shouldn't, marry at all if he has no desire for connubial bliss. But then, this rule is not about His desire but Hers. Having married, the blessing of his underwear being washed and folded is a collateral benefit but not a sufficient reason to pay the folder's medical bills for the foreseeable future. Lustiness in one's wife is the first and necessary signal to a calm man's sense that all is right in his world. She is First Citizen, Grand Vizier, Her Man's Lieutenant in all Things, chief beneficiary of all that he conquers, surveys, and eventually bequeaths. If she does not eagerly reward his urges, hail the conquering hero with some verve, then he has been measured at the closest vantage, by the best beloved, as not impressive enough to receive a woman's central contribution to marriage. It is what a man expects since the act of "one flesh" is the Creation of Eve Reason for leaving father and mother and cleaving. It is encouraged by the Apostle as avoiding and doing without is discouraged. Absence of this urge is sufficient reason to not marry at all. The other services a wife provides are more cheaply had by domestic staff and a passel of good friends.

Let us finish by saying that the Calm ratios are not met if the key and central reason for a man having a wife is met infrequently and disinterestedly. See if a woman has the same "you ought to tolerate this because God won't let you leave" assessment if the husband was "infrequent and disinterested" in fulfilling her expectations for provision in any area (emotionally, spiritually, financially, socially).
Build a life together which protects your wife's construction of a family civilization.
But a sexual buzzkill is no wife worth having.