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March 12, 2008

Gilgamesh and such…

Tom McLaughlin

I have tried many different and unique ways to meet ladies of quality and one of them is to join poetry groups. My logic is that warm, sensitive and intelligent women would be attracted to these gatherings and I would woo them with my rhymes.


My personality hasn’t been working, so showing my appreciation of fine literature would put me in a more favorable light. Being a science person, I know very little about poetry and what I do know has been dragged up from an English lit class from 30 years ago.


My first endeavor was to strike up a conversation about the great poet Chaucer and his poem the “Millers Tale.” I have since learned it was a raunchy piece which explains the strange look from the lady I tried to impress.


Actually, I do enjoy poetry and my favorite scribe is Robert Service. I can recite most of “The Cremation of Sam McGee:” (“There are strange things in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold). And I do fairly well with “The Shooting of Dan McGraw.” But these are not poems to woo women. I have tried writing but have a hard time seeking words that rhyme with mitochondria.


A famous professor talked to the gathering a few times asking our input on his new translation of the epic poem Gilgamesh. This poem was written in 2700 B.C. on stone tablets in the language of Akkadian. The prof would come in and read his just-finished translation in English. The only problem was I didn’t understand a word of it. Nothing made any sense; but I politely applauded when everyone else did.


The group would go out for pizza later and he would join us. But the problem here was he could not stop talking about his work and he always sat next to me – going on and on about this guy Gilgamesh. At least I think he was a guy. Tears of boredom would run down my face as he excitedly kept talking about him. I would politely nod in agreement when he paused, which wasn’t too often.


I was reading The New York Times Book Review section a few months later when I came across a whole page review of the professor’s new book about Gilgamesh. I swear I read the thing about three times. It was long, but I could not fathom the contents. I told others about it and they asked me if it was favorable and I told them I though it was but wasn’t sure. I hope he made some money from the sales. I watched the ads for Barnes and Noble book signings, but he was never listed and did not come back to the group.


I will continue to attend my poetry readings, look attentive and nod when everyone else does. I do stand and read the few poems I have written. Everyone encourages me, but I think it is out of great pity. I just hope one fine lady will recognize my potential, take me under her wing and we will both fly away.


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