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2003-01-21 | 11:54 a.m.

I did not write my thesis about this, but the idea I thought about the most as my undergraduate career wound to a close was the way our minds fuck with us. I got this from my Shakespeare prof, Stephen Booth, though he didn't describe it in quite the same way. But he would recite a simple verse, such as "Roses are red, violets are blue..." and then he would say, "Are roses really red?" You'd nod your head, in a stupor, yes, yes, then huhhhh no, no, not always; and then he'd say, "Are violets really blue?" and you'd say, yes, well no, not really. His point was that pretty much anything memorable contains something for your mind to play around with at a level that you're not necessarily paying attention to. Basically, the toy that comes with the mind's Happy Meal. I've always loved this idea of the mind being not only like a separate person but a kind of trickster having fun at our expense. And this idea has been borne out for me thousands of times since.

Was reminded of all this because I was just thinking about the phrase, When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple.

Sure, I understand the sentiment. But who would honestly say that wearing purple is a particularly daring or youthful activity? Cripes, even the Amish wear purple.

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