This begins a new series called "Passive Aggressive Conversations I Wish I Had." I'd like to note, at the outset, that staying at the office until 10:30 and catching the Rangers score of TEN TO NOTHING on the home influenced this decision in all likelihood. But I really do think this has staying power, so we'll see where it goes.
[Setting: the Park Cities YMCA. It's a semi-busy Saturday morning. A few randars are in the house, but the usual suspects are present: 60% middle aged, half men, half women, the rest a smattering of middle school to high school guys and girls, and a few yuppie types. The cardio machines are being used, as are the dadgum weights.
Entrat Mabes, walking toward the bench press. A middle aged man wearing an odd, flesh-constricting Lulu-Lemon "shirt" that be worn in no other physical activity except weight lifting is just standing by the bench press in front of it, leaning on one of the rails. The bench is adjusted for an incline press, although the actual incline press station has stood unused for the full half-hour that I've been on the treadmill.]
Mabes: Excuse me . . . do you mind if I work in here?
Moron: . . . . [He stands in silence, intently watching NCAA Women's Softball on Fox Sports Southwest.]
Mabes: Pardon me, sir, but, uh, do you mind if I get a set in real quick?
Moron: Uh . . .
Mabes: . . . I'll just be real quick . . .
Moron: Yeah, I'm done; I was just kind of watching TV as I cool down, though . . .
Mabes: Oh, I--uh . . . I'm sorry. I wasn't sure that you were done because the weights were still on it, and you were sitting here, but I just couldn't tell if . . .
Moron: Oh no, all through.
Mabes: [taking off the clamps and plates so that he can put what he needs on there] So I can go ahead and take the weights off and put the bench back down now that you're through?
Moron: Sure. [Moron stretches, lazily gets up; he moves over three feet, and slowly, clearly judging the interloper as he puts on the iron, get set, gets the bar up, and gets on with his set.]
Why Colonel Sartoris?
Allow me to explain the puzzling title. Colonel Sartoris is William Faulkner's greatest character. He exemplifies those values that his society cherishes, namely tradition, patriarchy, courtliness, and courage. Though modernity's slow march tries to strip him of these things, Sartoris continues to live as he always has, knowing that "the past is never dead. It's not even past." He seeks order in the honorable folkways and mores of his forbears. Let us not forget his example.