A toast to … misanthropy

Cafe Katja.

Well, folks, for the past 58 years I’ve been self-isolating from most of the rest of the human race and expressed both pessimism and cynicism about the race itself. Welcome to my world. I’m not necessarily delighted to be proven right, but these days I’ll take what I can get.

During these home-bound days, I’m re-reading a few of the books that led me to these conclusions: “comfort fiction,” let’s call it. Here are only three that I highly recommend:

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift: By the end of Swift’s novel, Gulliver is self-isolating from human stupidity too. It’s an extreme but, once you get to the end, understandable conclusion.

The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek: During World War I, Hasek’s simpleton Svejk demonstrates that you can easily prove the incompetence and stupidity of your leaders by doing exactly what they tell you to do.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: More than an anti-war novel, it’s an anti-stupidity novel, offering only the thinnest of hopes at the end (though hope, I believe, it is).

Alas in these trying times, Cafe Katja is closed for regular business, so you won’t find me at the bar there this afternoon. But fortunately for all of us, the owners have instituted a take-out and delivery service so your Austrian food needs can be met during this difficult disruption. Follow their Instagram feed for details. I also recommend that you help out the staff at Katja by tiding them over until the doors can formally open again.

Until next time, prost! The liquor stores will remain open indefinitely (and, I understand, are doing just fine).

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