Commonplace Book: Alexander Theroux on Boston

Compelling passages, notable quotables, bon mots, disjecta, ephemera, and miscellany.


But it was not just one thing, it was everything about Boston from which at the time Eugene Eyestones wanted to get away: the lying and thieving politicians who voted themselves lifetime pensions secretly backdoored through their very own committees, the crass nepotism, all those strawberry-faced, gor-bellied Boston cops arse-looping around in their official cars confiscating drugs and guns only to sell them later for fast cash; the state policemen on the take, pooled from the dumbest, meanest bullies in high school; the exorbitant taxes; the lack of parking spaces; the incessant traffic jams; all the mischief in courts, politically appointed judges and hack lawyers, the endless civic corruption in City Hall; the one-party system by which Democrats with diabolical ingenuity have been infiltrating and destroying the state for ages; the blatant racism and reaction in the city; the crass pension thieves; the state workers and idlers who show up for work whenever they want; the provincial atmosphere of the place, all the parochialism, the corrupt pols and lying, diddling priests, the phony hand-shakers – it was true what he had heard, you always know you’re from Boston if you think you are superior to everybody but never have traveled anywhere else – all of whom seemed to meet at O’Boys Café. “I never like to go to Boston,” a drunken Irishman once confessed to Eyestones, nudging him. “Why?” he asked. “Because everybody looks like me!” It was all in all a parade of scullion-ugly, jut-jawed, turnip-nosed, red-faced, pale-shinned, watery-eyed cabbages stumbling from room to room and hooting and shouting with their Boston accents – “Gedadaheah!” “Gimme me a hot dawg!” “Two mokah rahmond cwoffees!” “It’s hahf-pahst foah!” “A stawm’s blowin’ down from the nawth!” “Where’s my pockabook?” “Can you spare me a quaddah?” “Got to go to the irondeer” – eye and ear – “infirmary!” “I’m flying Delta Rearlines!” “Wanna hit the hosses?” etc. – that fully convinced Eugene Eyestones that if he did not leave town immediately he would explode.

From Laura Warholic or, The Sexual Intellectual (2007)

One thought on “Commonplace Book: Alexander Theroux on Boston

  1. I xeroxed this section of the novel a few years ago; I was kicking around a conference paper-essay idea on the anti-Hibernian rant, but I can’t figure out what to add unless I read it aloud myself, and I lack a Boston accent.


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