Stevieslaw: Good Intentions

Feeling Groovy: The LAGuide to Celebrating Your Good Intentions
My old friend Murray and his wife, Dorothy, would walk downtown for lunch every day—rain or shine, snow or ice. They were in their early 80’s and it was easily a two to two and a half mile walk for them each way, but they had a love affair with our small college town. Formerly New Yorkers, they marveled at the easy accessibility of the town and its shops. As they’d window shop their way to lunch, they might make an event out of buying a pair of socks at the Appalachian Outdoor House, at that time on West College Avenue. Many days they would lunch at that most traditional of State College eateries—the Corner Room. They always managed to get a table with a windowed street view. And while Dorothy would watch the world go by outside, Murray would spread out his latest book catalogue, Edward Hamilton or Daedalus or the like, and with a yellow magic market, spend an hour or so earnestly choosing the handful of books that he would dearly love to read next. Murray loved books. He loved the smell of a freshly opened volume and the heft and the singular beauty of an art book with tipped in plates from Cezanne or Picasso or Arthur Dove. He loved the way a book of poetry neatly held dozens of well-formed gems.
My friend Murray bought books, books and more books with the intention of reading each and every one of them. At eighty, some part of him must have known that he would have to live longer than Methuselah to read all the volumes that were arriving daily in the mail, but Murray had the intention—a good intention, the best intention, to read them all, and that was quite enough for him to continue to order more books. Today as I sit in my library, surrounded more by books that have yet to be read than by those neatly read and placed alphabetically on my shelves, I am reminded and comforted by Murray’s firm belief that when it came to buying books, good intentions were quite enough. And today, when many people think that good intentions are somehow the work of the devil, as in the apocryphal saying that, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” we, here at Stevieslaw say “oh yeah!” Without those good intentions that damned road wouldn’t be paved at all—just a rutted path, garbage and glass strewn, with small fires smoldering here and there. And that is the reason, we at Stevieslaw are pleased to publish, “Feeling Groovy:” The Less-Intelligent-than-Average-American Guide to Celebrated Your Good Intentions.” In the guide, you will learn that most Americans do not aim high enough with their intentions. We will convince you that since you only plan on doing these things, albeit with the sincerest and finest good intentions, you can aim as high as you like—as high as you can imagine. Whether you intend to improve the world or improve yourself. Consider:
1. Plan to Start a Foundation: Research the many diseases and afflictions that a foundation might invest in to make a difference. Learn to speak the language of a sub-tropical disease so you may converse with researchers about, say, Dengue Fever. Consider the support of young artists or performers through the “your name here” prize that will jump-start their careers. Write to the people in acquisitions at all the major museums across the planet to discuss the procedure for donations. Intend to adopt an orchestra or a modern dance company.
2. Plan to learn a language: Dozens of people learn to speak French, Italian and German, while Hungarian, Finnish and Tibetan are just as interesting and a hundred times more difficult. Take a well-intentioned and serious interest in accumulating the tools you will need—books, tapes, and native speakers—to learn Hungarian. Join a Hungarian-American friendship club and listen to hours of poetry recitals. Learn the music. Adopt the native costume.
3. Plan to travel: Get ready for your trip to Callisto, one of the larger moons of Jupiter. Put your name on the list of future interplanetary travelers and find a pen pal at NASA or Roscosmos. Or perhaps you prefer a six year trip around our own planet, in the Captain’s Suite on the cruise ship “The Jewel of Jewels,” with side trips to such widely varying locations as the South Pole and the seven summits of Mt. Everest. Gather thousands of travel brochures. Spend a year or two finding the best prices on the gear and guides you will need to make your trip the best ever.
4. Plan to become a “Fashionista:” Plan to improve every aspect of your personal appearance. Spend time researching the local gyms, personal trainers and spas. Buy the fitness magazines and all the little pieces of fitness equipment which grace the shelves of your local pharmacy for some reason. Plan your entry into the world of macrobiotic dieting and veganism through the acquisition of books, dvrs and arcane information on the internet. Dine at a Tibetan restaurant. Learn how to dress like Heidi Klum or Tim Gunn or both by subscribing to big, glossy fashion magazines. Watch Project Runway with religious fervor, with the sincere intention of not only qualifying for the show, but winning it. To that end, learn to knit or sew.
Most of all please plan to buy the guide, with all the sincere and genuine good intentions, that had you buy that speedo racing swimsuit—the one that will hang in your closet forever—today. It is our best intention to have a draft to the editor by mid-month and the guide on the street by the first of May.

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