The Story of the Bad Little Boy Who Didn’t Come to Grief

Samuel L. Clemensby Samuel Langhorn Clemens (1867)

Once there was a bad little boy, whose name was Jim — though, if you will notice, you will find that bad little boys are nearly always called James in your Sunday-school books. It was very strange, but still it was true, that this one was called Jim.

He didn’t have any sick mother, either — a sick mother who was pious and had the consumption, and would be glad to lie down in the grave and be at rest, but for the strong love she bore her boy, and the anxiety she felt that the world would be harsh and cold towards him when she was gone. Most bad boys in the Sunday books are named James, and have sick mothers, who teach them to say, “Now I lay me down,” etc., and sing them to sleep with sweet plaintive voices, and then kiss them goodnight, and kneel down by the bedside and weep. But it was different with this fellow. He was named Jim, and there wasn’t any thing the matter with his mother — no consumption, or any thing of that kind. She was rather stout than otherwise, and she was not pious; moreover, she was not anxious on Jim’s account. She said if he were to break his neck, it wouldn’t be much loss. She always spanked Jim to sleep, and she never kissed him goodnight; on the contrary, she boxed his ears when she was ready to leave him.

Once this little bad boy stole the key of the pantry and slipped in there and helped himself to some jam, and filled up the vessel with tar, so that his mother would never know the difference; but all at once a terrible feeling didn’t come over him, and something didn’t seem to whisper to him, “Is it right to disobey my mother? Isn’t it sinful to do this? Where do bad little boys go who gobble up their good kind mother’s jam?” and then he didn’t kneel down all alone and promise never to be wicked any more, and rise up with a light, happy heart, and go and tell his mother all about it, and beg her forgiveness, and be blessed by her with tears of pride and thankfulness in her eyes. No; that is the way with all other bad boys in the books; but it happened otherwise with this Jim, strangely enough. He ate that jam, and said it was bully, in his sinful, vulgar way; and he put in the tar, and said that was bully also, and laughed, and observed that “the old woman would get up and snort” when she found it out; and when she did find it out, he denied knowing any thing about it, and she whipped him severely, and he did the crying himself. Every thing about this boy was curious — every thing turned out differently with him from the way it does to the bad Jameses in the books.

Once he climbed up in Farmer Acorn’s apple-tree to steal apples, and the limb didn’t break, and he didn’t fall and break his arm, and get torn by the farmer’s great dog, and then languish on a sick bed for weeks, and repent and become good. Oh! no; he stole as many apples as he wanted, and came down all right; and he was all ready for the dog, too, and knocked him endways with a rock when he came to tear him. It was very strange — nothing like it ever happened in those mild little books with marbled backs, and with pictures in them of men with swallow-tailed coats, and bell-crowned hats, and pantaloons that are short in the legs, and women with the waists of their dresses under their arms and no hoops on. Nothing like it in any of the Sunday-school books.

Once he stole the teacher’s penknife, and when he was afraid it would be found out, and he would get whipped, he slipped it into George Wilson’s cap — poor Widow Wilson’s son, the moral boy, the good little boy of the village, who always obeyed his mother, and never told an untruth, and was fond of his lessons and infatuated with Sunday-school. And when the knife dropped from the cap, and poor George hung his head and blushed, as if in conscious guilt, and the grieved teacher charged the theft upon him, and was just in the very act of bringing the switch down upon his trembling shoulders, a white-haired improbable justice of the peace did not suddenly appear in their midst and strike an attitude and say, “spare this noble boy — there stands the cowering culprit! I was passing the school-door at recess, and, unseen myself, I saw the theft committed!” And then Jim didn’t get whaled, and the venerable justice didn’t read the tearful school a homily, and take George by the hand and say such a boy deserved to be exalted, and then tell him to come and make his home with him, and sweep out the office, and make fires, and run errands, and chop wood, and study law, and help his wife to do household labors, and have all the balance of the time to play, and get forty cents a month, and be happy. No; it would have happened that way in the books, but it didn’t happen that way to Jim. No meddling old clam of a justice dropped in to make trouble, and so the model boy GLeorge got threshed, and Jim was glad of it; because, you know, Jim hated moral boys. Jim said he was “down on them milksops.” Such was the coarse language of this bad, neglected boy.

But the strangest things that ever happened to Jim was the time he went boating on Sunday and didn’t get drowned, and that other time that he got caught out in the storm when he was fishing on Sunday, and didn’t get struck by lightning. Why, you might look, and look, and look through the Sunday-school books, from now till next Christmas, and you would never come across any thing like this. Oh! no; you would find that all the bad boys who go boating on Sunday invariably get drowned; and all the bad boys who get caught out in storms, when they are fishing on Sunday, infallibly get struck by lightning. Boats with bad boys in them always upset on Sunday, and it always storms when bad boys go fishing on the Sabbath. How this Jim ever escaped is a mystery to me.

This Jim bore a charmed life — that must have been the way of it. Nothing could hurt him. He even gave the elephant in the menagerie a plug of tobacco, and the elephant didn’t knock the top of his head off with his trunk. He browsed around the cupboard after essence of peppermint, and didn’t make a mistake and drink aqua fortis. He stole his father’s gun and went hunting on the Sabbath, and didn’t shoot three or four of his fingers off. He struck his little sister on the temple with his fist when he was angry, and she didn’t linger in pain through long summer days, and die with sweet words of forgiveness upon her lips that redoubled the anguish of his breaking heart. No; she got over it. He ran off and went to sea at last, and didn’t come back and find himself sad and alone in the world, his loved ones sleeping in the quiet churchyard, and the vine-embowered home of his boyhood tumbled down and gone to decay. Ah! no; he came home drunk as a piper, and got into the station-house the first thing.

And he grew up, and married, and raised a large family, and brained them all with an ax one night, and got wealthy by all manner of cheating and rascality, and now he is the infernalest wickedest scoundrel in his native village, and is universally respected, and belongs to the Legislature.

So you see there never was a bad James in the Sunday-school books that had such a streak of luck as this sinful Jim with the charmed life.

Selections from the Wish List

Straight from the newer half of the middle section of the 800 items on my Amazon wishlist. I kind of use it as a list of things I don’t want to forget about, and I rarely buy stuff off of it. I still feel guilty about its… largeness, though. I haven’t met anyone with more items on theirs…

Anyways, these are books that I have found interesting enough to throw on the list.

Warriors of the Lord: The Military Orders of Christendom by Michael Walsh

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Ancient Greek Edition) by J. K. Rowling

Hacking Matter: Levitating Chairs, Quantum Mirages, and the Infinite Weirdness of Programmable Atoms by Wil McCarthy

The Books at the Wake: A Study of Literary Allusions in James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake by James S. Atherton

Hideous Absinthe: A History of the Devil in a Bottle by Jad Adams

Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World’s Most Astonishing Number by Mario Livio

Mishima: A Biography by John Nathan

Christ the Eternal Tao by Damascene

Not Much Just Chillin’: The Hidden Lives of Middle Schoolers by Linda Perlstein

Come Retribution: The Confederate Secret Service and the Assassination of Lincoln by William A. Tidwell

Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers by Leonard Koren

A General History of Pyrates by Daniel Defoe

The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T. Wright

Fountain Pens: History and Design by Giorgio Dragoni

The Japanese House: Architecture and Interiors by Alexandra Black

Post a comment if you have any thoughts, have read any of these books, or have a wish list that is more extensive than mine! I would be thrilled to meet such a being.

Favorite Songs…Ever

I was just thinking about the songs and bands that I like, and I thought I’d put my list of all-time faves up. I think I’ve said this before, but if any song I talk about is available on the iTunes music store, I link to it there. If not, then I link to the album on Amazon.

I just came up with this list off the top of my head (well, with some extra thinking and revision), and I didn’t have a specific number of songs in my head from the beginning. The following are just songs that came to my head.

Mayonnaise by The Smashing Pumpkins
Engel by Rammstein
Pagan Poetry by Björk
Komm, Süsser Tod by Shiro Sagisu [鷺巣詩郎?] So dang good! Especially if the first time you’ve heard it is while watching the freaking awesome End of Evangelion! The lyrics are suicidal, but the music is so happy! Only the Japanese could have pulled off something like this…
Piggies by The Beatles
Angeles by Elliott Smith
Mish Fadilak by Natacha Atlas HEY!! This is a link to the MP3 for free on Amazon! Turn it UP!
3 Libras by A Perfect Circle
Mother Nature’s Son by The Beatles
Dalai Lama by Rammstein Weiter, weiter ins Verderben!
The Package by A Perfect Circle
Happiness Is a Warm Gun by The Beatles
Do You Love Me? by Shiro Sagisu [?]
Long, Long, Long by The Beatles
Los Peces en el Río by The Gipsy Kings
Jesus, I/Mary Star of the Sea by Zwan I love “Jesus, I.” It’s so powerful when someone like Billy Corgan is singing it. It’s cool how all that meta-info that you might have about an artist can make a song that much more awesome…
Oh Well, Okay by Elliott Smith
Rhino Rhapsody by Davka Sounds like a song a rhino would listen to as he trundles along…
Crabcraft by Björk
While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles
Prayer by Disturbed As a rule, I don’t like Disturbed, but I do really like this song and the other song of theirs that I have on the list.
Istanbullish by Davka Effing awesome.
Blank Page by The Smashing Pumpkins
Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands by Bob Dylan Beautiful. Interesting poetry, too…
St. Ides Heaven by Elliott Smith Yeah, I know what it’s about. Still good, though.
Ænima by Tool After reflecting on this song for a long time, I came to the conclusion that this is a prophetic message against LA, but of course these guys don’t know it. I might do a post on this song at some point… (Careful! Lots of F-words!!)
Hotaka (Der Dritte Raum remix) by Juno Reactor Play this one really loud. Eventually the light always fails you…
Weak And Powerless by A Perfect Circle
The Biggest Lie by Elliott Smith So good!!!
Savoy Truffle by The Beatles Okay, I just like the White Album all around…
Sunday Sun by Beck
Christmas Song by Dave Matthews
Pitseleh by Elliott Smith I’ll tell you why I don’t wanna know where you are…
Oz/The Ruined House by David Shire I love this soundtrack so much, I paid fifty bucks for the CD! (It’s not available anymore…)
Ein Sof by Davka If there ever is a Jewish ninja movie, this song has to be on the soundtrack!!
Remember by Disturbed
Rose Parade by Elliott Smith
Nar-1 Ney by Mercan Dede This guy freakin’ rocks.
HOSTILITY RESTRAINED by Shiro Sagisu Amazing, especially if you know the Eva background.
Nitrogen (Part 1) by Juno Reactor Some sweet shamisen action (I think).
Of a Broken Heart by Zwan Heart-wrenching!
The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Bob Dylan My only complaint: he says “prophesize”!! Argh!
Glitter by Morella’s Forest I’ve loved this band ever since I was sixteen! I don’t know what it is. The guitars? the voice? hours of listening to it in the back seat of the family car during one of our marathon vacations?
Zero by The Smashing Pumpkins Intoxicated with the badness…
Rei I by Shiro Sagisu
An Ode to No One by The Smashing Pumpkins Lost my innocence to a no-good girl…
To Forgive by The Smashing Pumpkins I sensed my loss before I even learned to talk… This is a song to cry to, just in case you’re looking.
X.Y.U. by The Smashing Pumpkins And in the eyes of the jackal I say… KABOOM! I’m gonna go listen to this right now!!
Bullet with Butterfly Wings by The Smashing Pumpkins Uh, yeah, Mellon Collie is just another one of those albums I need to recommend altogether before I end up putting every song on this list.
Hey Sandy by Polaris Pete & Pete was awesome.
始まりへの逃避 (whatever that says in Japanese) by Shiro Sagisu So sad! Captures the character so well, though.
No Name #1 by Elliott Smith

Yeah, I’m weird…

I think I’ll keep adding to this. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, post away!

Avoidant Obsessive-Compulsive

I took a personality disorder test. Haha. Here are my results:

Disorder Rating
Paranoid: Low
Schizoid: Moderate
Schizotypal: Moderate
Antisocial: Low
Borderline: Low
Histrionic: Moderate
Narcissistic: Moderate
Avoidant: High
Dependent: Moderate
Obsessive-Compulsive: High

Personality Disorder Test – Take It!

I definitely fit the Avoidant and Obsessive-Compulsive descriptions to an extent, and my social ineptness definitely got me those schizo ratings, but the Histrionic and Narcissistic descriptions aren’t as extreme. I think I got those because I am very self-conscious, but I don’t do all that other dramatic stuff it talks about in order to get people to like me or pay attention to me.

Well, take the test and let me know what you get.

Argh

I am grieved in my soul. Pray for me and the people I encounter on a daily basis.

I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. —John 13.34,35

Shakuhachi

Me and my very first shakuhachi.After some discussion with Greg, and a tip from Stephen (thanks, Stephen!), we went up to Santa Barbara to an interesting little music shop in the midst of pouring rain, and I got me a shakuhachi, pictured at right (pay no attention to the ugly man holding it; where do they get these shakuhachi catalog models??)

Shakuhachi are Japanese flutes, made out of the root segment of bamboo. Mine, even though it might look so from the picture, is not. It’s plastic. I got a plastic one because I don’t know how far I’m going to go with this. I found a site that is all about the flute I got, THE SHAKUHACHI YUU!!! shakuhachiyuu.com

I’ve always liked the shakuhachi, and I have an interest in wind instruments. They seem to me to be the most spiritual of the instruments. With the shakuhachi, there’s also an interesting connection to nature (which of course as a result means the instrument is packed with a lot of interesting cultural and religious significance). Real shakuhachi actually have stubs of the roots still on the end. Pretty cool!

Mine, alas, is synthetic, but it still has a nice sound. It took me a while to get it to actually make sound. You have to hold it at just the right angle to get anything more than a blowing noise. Unfortunately, my new instrument did not come with any playing instructions, so right now I’m just messing around with different notes.

I decided to try to get my hands on some book from which I could start to pick up the skill of the shakuhachi flutist. One book that kept popping up in internet searches was Shakuhachi: How to Play the Shakuhachi Flute by Yoshinobu Taniguchi.

Crazy white guy slashing stuff.Well, Amazon lists it as out of stock, so I went to this other site for a company called Bugei Trading Company. These guys are crazy. They have all this Japanese stuff, and it’s pretty real. I’m specifically referring to their “samurai swords,” which aren’t those crappy fake ones you can get at John T’s. They even have movies of some psycho white guy slicing the crap out of “cutting targets.” All that to say, I found the book on that site and it has now begun the journey from the warehouse to my doorstep.

Greg and I hope to start doing some music with the computer and with some live instruments. It’ll be fun if we actually do it. If I really get in to the shakuhachi thing, I’ll invest in something of a higher quality. Maybe some day I’ll get one from this site I found, shakuhachi.com (of course!). The flutes on this site look pretty bad ass, if I may say so. And the cheapest ones start out at only around $1700.00!! (I think that cheap one had some cracks in it that had been repaired, too!) Bet they sound awful nice…