The Arousing of Thought
In self-justification, and also perhaps to diminish the degree of the censure in your waking consciousness of my ignorance of this language indispensable for contemporary life, I consider it necessary to say, with a humble heart and cheeks flushed with shame, that although I too was taught this language in my childhood, and even though certain of my elders who prepared me for responsible life, constantly forced me “without sparing or economizing” any intimidatory means to “learn by rote” the host of various “nuances” which in their totality compose this contemporary “delight,” yet, unfortunately of course for you, of all that I then learned by rote, nothing stuck and nothing whatsoever has survived for my present activities as a writer.
And nothing stuck, as it was quite recently made clear to me, not through any fault of mine, nor through the fault of my former respected and non-respected teachers, but this human labor was spent in vain owing to one unexpected and quite exceptional event which occurred at the moment of my appearance on God’s Earth, and which was—as a certain occultist well known in Europe explained to me after a very minute what is called “psycho-physico-astrological” investigation—that at that moment, through the hole made in the windowpane by our crazy lame goat, there poured the vibrations of sound which arose in the neighbor’s house from an Edison phonograph, and the midwife had in her mouth a lozenge saturated with cocaine of German make, and moreover not “Ersatz,” and was sucking this lozenge to these sounds without the proper enjoyment.
Besides from this event, rare in the everyday life of people, my present position also arose because later on in my preparatory and adult life—as, I must confess, I myself guessed after long reflections according to the method of the German professor, Herr Stumpsinschmausen—I always avoided instinctively as well as automatically and at times even consciously, that is, on principle, employing this language for intercourse with others. And from such a trifle, and perhaps not a trifle, I manifested thus again thanks to three data which were formed in my entirety during my preparatory age, about which data I intend to inform you a little later in this same first chapter of my writings.