“How self-centered is man, and how darkly do his own petty interests overshadow the giant things of life. Thrones may totter and fail, monarchs pass to the limbo of memories, whilst we wrestle with an intractable collar-stud.” — Sax Rohmer, The Orchard of Tears
There’s a lot to think about in that quote from the famous author who warned of the Yellow Menace and created its most formidable general and the world’s most insidious pharmacist, the pinnacle of evil, Dr. Fu Manchu. For one thing, what’s a collar-stud? Is it the same thing as a collar stud? For another thing, would it be politically correct, or incorrect, to point out the sexist reference to “man” in the opening phrase? In doing so would we be accused of intimating that women are also self-centered? As we know from popular (or is the proper term “populist”?) teachings, it’s the male that is self-centered. Females are empathetic and polyglotenous. Yet, this observation fails to account for the LGBTQ (Lapdog Globalist Bilingual Testicular Quietude) community or Bandolero’s favorite lunch, the BLT, which is not to be confused with the infamous DC BeLTway.
For another thing, one would expect a throne to totter and fall, not totter and fail. It could fail and totter, in that order. Or it could totter and then fall. But to totter and then fail is incomprehensible, if not just plain non-prehensile.
Which leaves us with the quandary of whether to try to wrap our mind around the notion of wrestling with a collar-stud (which gives rise to the thoroughly incredulous image of a sumo wrestler trying to get a half-nelson on a button) or to grasp the concept of a memory limbo. A memory could be in limbo, we suppose, as could several memories, now that we think about it. But just what is a limbo of memories? Is the word being used along the same line as “pride” when one speaks of a pride of lions? Well, maybe. Oh! Oh! Limbo as in the place between “here” and “there”; or the “nothingness”. Should I stay or should I go? I’m stuck in limbo. He’s using it as a noun, though, like the Chicago of memories. But that suggests a place memories could visit and leave, which I don’t think is meant. I’m thinking something like an inescapable Neverland. How about a place that’s “insubstantial”, as in “without substance”? Like where ghosts live. I remember something about a limbo song, with dancing in a limbo line. Well, I should check a dictionary, shouldn’t I? You should, too.
Seems like a good time to order another beer. Is there anybody else in the world who recalls that the word “intimate” (rhymes with “mate”) is also a verb that means “suggest”? Or did we just dream that up out of limbo?