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The Digressions of dr sanscravat

An Introduction of Sorts

Some years ago, I began receiving e-mails signed “Dr. Sanscravat.” I naturally assumed that it was a pseudonym -- perhaps a nom de plume, possibly an alias behind which he hid from the many people who were likely to be offended by his writing. It may very well have been both, for he seems to have very little concern for the feelings of others.

This is not to say that he is purposefully cruel -- he just doesn’t bother to temper his words before sending them into the world. It is certainly a cliché to describe such old men (and, I have since learned, Sanscravat is indeed an old man) as “cranky,” “garrulous,” “cantankerous,” “obstreperous,” “irascible,” or “just plain ornery” -- and all of those terms do apply to the “gentleman” in question. However, these adjectives must be understood in the proper context.

Sanscravat is old. While he is not -- technically speaking -- as old as the hills, he is certainly old enough to remember those hills when they were still mountains. Which is to say that he is old enough to no longer care about how others see him, but not yet old enough to be worried about how he will be judged in the afterlife. Mark Twain (a writer who is often quoted by Sanscravat) once described elderly religious converts as “studying for finals.” Sanscavat, a life-long agnostic, is not among such recent converts, nor is he likely to be in the near future. Study he may, but “studying for finals” is out of the question.

Despite the opinionated nature of his writings, he often seems almost genial -- perhaps because of their innate humor. While readers may sometimes detect a whiff of truth, just as often they discover a steaming heap of lies, exaggerations, and whatever form of mendacity that serves his immediate purpose. It’s a wise reader who examines his shoes after stepping into a Sanscravat story.

In collecting these stories, I have made no effort to identify the relative truthfulness of his writings, and -- I suspect -- he may not be able to do so himself.

One example of his deceit is his self-ordained doctorate. While the man does have at his command a vast, and utterly useless, store of trivial information, he is no more a doctor than any of the distinguished-looking actors who make their livings shilling snake oil on late-night television.

Another is his tendency to affect a southern or Texas accent. As far as I have been able to ascertain, he has never lived in those parts of the US. Perhaps he thinks it lends his prose a folksy quality -- and, perhaps, there are readers who will fall for the ruse. Unlike our former president -- who is no more Texan than I am -- Sanscravat is clearly aware that his pose is just that: a pose. He’s a sort of post-modern hick, who can maintain his drawl only by keeping his tongue firmly in his cheek.

Having done my best to forewarn you, gentle reader, I leave you to discover Dr. Sanscravat in the only form I’ve known -- his own words.

An Afterthought…

...about his chosen name of “Sanscravat”... while most of us, at least those of us who are adult males, do occasionally wear ties, the good “doctor” does not. Given a choice between attending a function that requires the fashion accessory in question and simply staying home, he has assured me that he has always chosen the latter.

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