I Ain’t Miserable

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This is a bit from A Confederacy of Dunces that made me chuckle. It’s a good example of the novel’s typical dialogue and humour.

“I refuse to ‘look up.’ Optimism nauseates me. It is perverse. Since man’s fall, his proper position in the universe has been one of misery.”

“I ain’t miserable.”

“You are.”

“No, I ain’t.”

“Yes, you are.”

“Ignatius, I ain’t miserable. If I was, I’d tell you.”

“If I had demolished private property while intoxicated and had thereby thrown my child to the wolves, I would be beating my breast and wailing. I would kneel in penance until my knees bled. By the way, what penance has the priest given you for your sin?”

“Three Hail Mary’s and a Our Father.”

“Is that all?” Ignatius screamed. “Did you tell him what you did, that you halted a critical work of great brilliance?”

“I went to confession, Ignatius. I told Father everything. He says, ‘It don’t sound like your fault, honey. It sounds to me like you just took a little skid on a wet street.’ So I told him about you. I says ‘My boy says I’m the one stopping him from writing in his copybooks. He’s been writing on this story for almost five years.’ And Father says, ‘Yeah? Well, don’t sound too important to me. You tell him to get out the house and go to work.'”

“No wonder I cannot support the Church,” Ignatius bellowed. “You should have been lashed right there in the confessional.”

— John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces

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