MY EXTREMELY FANCY COLONOSCOPY
THE QUEST TO BE POKED AND PRODDED BY THE BEST OF THE BEST OF THE BEST
by James McManus
Because of my age, positions of influence, birth order (first of seven) and other factors, I tend to trust those in authority. Whether I’m buying a car or a puppy, a novel or a computer, I’m content to deliver myself into the hands of an expert. Instead of spending decades learning Russian with run-of-the-mill comprehension, I count on Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky for versions of Anna Karenina and The Brothers Karamazov more subtle and poetic than I could ever in a hundred years hope to come up with on my own. The time I save not trying to parse Count Lev’s upper-caste syntax or Fyodor Mikhailovich’s born-again Slavophile ravings, to say nothing of the Cyrillic alphabet, allows me also to read The Mahabharata, the Iliad, My Name is Red, and Love in the Time of Cholera, albeit in translation. Not that the world wouldn’t be a better place if I mastered Sanskrit, Homeric Greek, modern Trojan, and Colombian Spanish and thus partook of those cultures directly; on the other hand, bro, life is short. It’s for much the same reason I don’t cram for the MCAT, attend and pay for medical school, then do a six-year gastroenterology residency when I come down with diverticulitis: because any board-certified specialist worth her sodium chloride knows infinitely better than I ever could what sort of shape my intestines are in, better still how to heal them.
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