*Little Did I Know: Excerpts from Memory* the new Stanley Cavell memoir

To recognize the end of the day and get to bed, I developed the ritual of eating a box of Oreo cookies together with a can of applesauce.  But really the ritual is equally describable as an effort to stop myself from eating the entire box of cookies, a sequence of five (was it?) pairs, each pair stacked in a pleated pliable plastic cup, and from finishing the accompanying applesauce, having conceived the idea that this was not a sensible diet.  I slowed the eating by inventing new ways of going through the cookies.  One way was to nibble around the circumference of a cookie before finishing off the remaining rough-edged center; another was to twist apart the two wafers of each Oreo, eat off the sugary middle spread from whichever of the wafers it largely adhered to, intending to eat only that one of that double cookie.  But each night I lost the battle to stop eating before the package and the can were emptied.  I recognize that to this day I unfailingly at the end of a meal leave some portion of food, if sometimes quite small, on my dish — as if to reassure myself that I am free.

I do the same, I should add.  That passage is from Stanley Cavell, one of America's leading philosophers.  If you're looking for a book which steps outside the usual mode of strict narrative, I recommend this highly, but it will leave many people frustrated.  You can buy it here.

For the pointer I thank David Gordon.


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