Friday, December 31, 2010



Currado Malaspina

This Artistotelian formulation finds its way into the daily conversation of my pretentious colleague, Currado Malaspina, at the most absurd and inappropriate times. He carries a worn copy of the Nicomachean Ethics in his coat pocket and quotes from it freely. In the aftermath of a minor traffic accident at the traitorous intersection of Rue Juliette Dodu and Avenue Claude Vellefaux, Currado observed to the irate owner of a newly dented Citroën Saxo that "... the morally weak who lose themselves in impetuous emotion are better than those who have a rational principle but do not abide by it." When his car insurance was subsequently canceled he bemoaned how "small people may have charm ... but not beauty."

Currado embodies Paul Valéry's description of the poetic temperament, "the sensation of being everything and the certitude of being nothing." He is both pompous and pure, deliriously megalomaniacal and comically self-effacing. E. M. Cioran, another Malaspina favorite, suggested that "the company of mortals is, for a lucid man, pure torture," and this explains Currado's lack of close friends.

In a 1997 interview with Haftora Magazine Currado confided to renown clinical psychologist Beto Azzuri that his eminent sense of detachment is a bias as flawed as any other. "I recognize death and exile (la mort et l'exile) as the mitigating arteries of the well-intentioned life (la vie bien intentionnée)," he began promisingly enough, "but covetousness (convoitise) is the human condition and should not be tampered with too dramatically."

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