John Y’s Musings from the Middle: A “Mark Twain” American

Facing up to major shortcomings in what you know. And don’t know.

I like to think of myself as what I’ll call a “Mark Twain American.” An American who understands our culture in common sense terms and isn’t a person who is especially impressed with pomp and circumstance –and someone who easily amused by those who are slaves to creating impossible public images for themselves and the things they value.

Sure part of that is a surly juvenilism….but part is surely authentic, too.

An example. I know a man about my age (who shall remain nameless) who was at Keeneland the other day and was served lunch. This friend of man (err..this man…who isn’t me), was searching for his eating utensils and unraveled his table napkin and out tumbled the silverware. As people nearby stared–part perturbed; part irritated with me.

I tried quickly to organize–properly set– the forks, knife and spoon in hopes of going unnoticed. I may have gotten it right. But even a “Mark Twain American” ought to know where silverware goes on a set table. I knew they eventually went in my hands and then the food. But will research tonight where they begin our next dinner.


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