Outwitting the Lightning

There was an article somewhere a while ago about how to keep from getting hit by lightning. I don't remember much that it said, because our cook was reading a serial in the same issue about a girl who fell in love with a jai-alai player, and took the magazine up to bed with her every night, so that I didn't get very far with the lightning article except to learn that you mustn't stand around under trees, and I knew that already.

It reminded me, though, of the times my aunt and I used to have with thunderstorms when I was a child. My aunt's major obsession is cats, which she thinks climb up on people's beds at night and smother them, but lightning comes next. I have heard that the fear of lightning is congenital, but I doubt it, because I can't remember that it ever bothered me until I went to stay with her on Long Island.

On the South Shore, storms come up very quickly. The clouds mount, purple on black, in the west. There is a stiff, hot wind that turns up the under sides of the leaves, giving everything a strange, end-of-the-world effect, and the next thing you know you're in the middle of it. Sometimes, of course, the storms go rumbling and flashing out to sea, but not often, and when they do, they're as likely as not to come back treacherously from the east, where you least

-187-

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More in Sorrow
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword vii
  • Contents xi
  • Parodies Regained 1
  • Time . . . Fortune . . . Life . . . Luce 3
  • Death in the Rumble Seat 20
  • Topless in Ilium 24
  • The Factory and the Attic 27
  • Glorious Calvin (a Critical Appreciation Many Years Later) 33
  • Shad Ampersand 37
  • The Education of Henry Apley 47
  • Eva's Deathbed Revisited 51
  • Shakespeare, Here's Your Hat 56
  • To a Little Girl at Christmas 62
  • On a Darkling Plain 66
  • Zulu, Watch the Snakes 71
  • Some Matters of Fact 77
  • Big Nemo 79
  • Lady of the Cats 126
  • St. George and the Dragnet 140
  • One with Nineveh 162
  • Battle's Distant Sound 174
  • Robert Benchley: in Memoriam 180
  • So-So Stories 185
  • Outwitting the Lightning 187
  • Ring Out, Wild Bells 191
  • The Secret Life of Myself 196
  • Song at Twilight 202
  • Crusoe's Footprint 211
  • The Courtship of Milton Barker 223
  • The Curious Incident of the Dogs In the Night-Time 246
  • The Crusaders 257
  • Wounds and Decorations 265
  • The Country of the Blind 267
  • O.K., Zanuck, Take It Away 275
  • The Big Boffola 285
  • The Personality Kid 291
  • Adultery Makes Dull Bedfellows 294
  • The Mantle of Comstock 297
  • Two Very Sad Young Men 301
  • At Home with the Gants 304
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