“All I have to do is remember and imagine the rustle of your skirt and I’m ready to chew my own hands off.” — Aleksei to Polina in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Gambler
Exactly. What a relief from the Valentine’s Day story on my service provider’s homepage: “They fell in love at the Home Depot.” And from Dr. Ruth, “There’s one thing you must say today…” And from the sea of crimson greeting cards and candy boxes at CVS, and the supermarket on South Street where you can’t buy canned soup without tripping over Mylar love balloons.
Dostoevsky is an antidote to ad slogans, to coma-inducing American culture, to the idea that romantic love is sane and pleasant and not funny. Alexsei again, but in the style of Groucho Marx: “Oh well, I’ll put off killing myself as long as possible, so that I can feel the insufferable pain of being without you.”
It’s a question of taste. If you like white bread with sugar on top, this is your day.