For Ana and Georg
My mother was 40 when my father died. He was younger. She had suitors. One after one after one until I couldn’t tell the difference between the analogies: was she Homer’s or Joyce’s Penelope? Mother was chaste, and wouldn’t give in, but only because all the suitors were stupid, she thought. Homer’s and Joyce’s Penelope also thought that. Some of the suitors were rich. One in particular had a goddamn palace. He thought mother was beautiful. But mother was mainly as smart as a Rolex Perpetual. The Oyster kind: soft on the inside and rough on the outside. Sharp eyes. Rough in her speech. But her breasts, oh, so curvy and soft. She spoke with the precision of a split beam. “But we want you,” the suitors would argue, often committing the argumentum ad hominem fallacy, when she would politely turn them down. The evening before such events, I was always asked to imagine whether I could see her washing the suitors’ underwear. Ever. I never could, so that settled it. Mother was a logician and would quickly get tired of uninteresting fallacies. “Give me a goddamn challenge” she would say, but the suitors never thought of arguing by way of making recourse to fashion strategies. Every month the rate of suitors coming to woo would also have a down curve. That’s when mother would make lamb roast in cardamom. She would serve a bran fermented drink, made all according to the secret recipe of her now vanished without a trace Yiddish speaking ancestors and serious people in the diamond business. Well, religion and badly applied communism can do marvels for turning traces into supplements. Mother became a Marxist thereafter, so she wouldn’t have to worry about a thing in the world. But she still liked going to the prophets. When she would stop worshipping the senses of the mind, she would throw herself at worshipping food. With the lamb, there was always an announcement. A competition was open for the best argument to win. She would listen to the pros and cons as to whether changing the whole goddamn furniture in the house was a good idea. It always was, so we always changed it. This went on between suitors coming and going while mother was busy counting how many stupid ones there remained who just couldn’t see how smart she was. She kept counting between the age of 40 and 50. So, 12 times a year, 10 years in a row, the furniture would follow the suitors’ suit: off it all went; off they all went. It was an interesting time, and the furniture got better and better. The suitors couldn’t follow suit. I’m 40 today. I weigh 49 kilos. I read Lacan and syllogisms before bed. I also read other things before bed. But never in bed as such. In bed I’m naked. No books. Just thoughts. And heat. There isn’t a lot of furniture in my house, but the little there is, is goddamn topnotch.