Monday, 22 October 2007

testing for a tingling

I haven't posted in awhile, and I don't have an awful lot to say, but I wanted to share this paragraph from Take A Girl Like You, by Kingsley Amis, which I'm finally finishing after a bit of a reading-drought while being too busy with work:

"When we were boys," his host ventured, "we were always fooling about with electric torches. We used to have a way of testing to see whether there was any guts left in a battery. What we did was to lay our tongues on the little brass strip things at the business end. If there was any juice remaining, then we used to get a tingling feeling in our tongues. A little, faint tingling that showed there was still some life in the thing. We could have tried it on a bulb, I suppose, but that would have been too easy. We liked to know in advance what the effect was going to be when we put the battery in a torch and pressed the button. Well, now. When I put my arm round Nancy's waist and give her a little kiss on the ear, or something like that, I'm testing for a tingling, that's all. Seeing if there's juice left."
Patrick wanted to applaud the skill and foresight that, evoking some major feat of literary symbolism, had after about an hour and a quarter brought together comparison and thing compared. "I see", he said.
"There never is, of course, but I can't seem to break the habit. I remember with the batteries, we'd try the old ones time after time. Even when we were quite sure they were as dead as a doornail. I suppose we thought they might somehow have recovered in the meantime. Hope springing eternal, that's what it is. When nothing else does."

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