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Daniil Kharms
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Memoirs (I Decided to Mess up the Party..)

1.
Once I arrived at Gosizdat [publishing house] and there in Gosizdat met Yevgeny L'vovich Shvarts who, as always, was badly dressed but with pretention to something.
Catching sight of me, Shvarts began to crack jokes but also, as always, unsuccessfully.
I cracked jokes significantly more successfully and soon, with regard to intellectual relations, put Shvarts squarely on his back.
Everyone around envied my wit, but they could do nothing about it as they literally killed themselves laughing. In particular Nina Vladimirovna Gernet and David Yefimych Rakhmilovich, who called himself Eugene because of the sound of it, used to kill themselves laughing.
Seeing that his jokes didn't work with me, Shvarts started to change his tone and in the end, cursing me up and down, declared that everyone in Tiflis knows Zabolotsky and hardly anyone knows me.
At this point I lost my temper and said that I was more historically important than Shvarts and Zabolotsky, that I shall leave a radiant mark upon history, while they will quickly be forgotten.
Having got the feel of my magnitude and my major world significance, Shvarts gradually began to palpitate and invited me round for dinner.
2.
I decided to mess up the party, and that's what I'm going to do.
I'll start with Valentina Yefimovna. This inhospitable personage invites us round and instead of a meal she puts on the table some awful sour stuff. I enjoy eating and I know what's what when it comes to food. You can't fool me with sour muck! I even go into restaurants on occasions and see what sort of food they have there. And I cannot stand it when this particularity of my character is not recognized.
Now I'll move on to Leonid Savel'evich Lipavsky. He didn't shrink from telling me in my face that every month he composes ten thoughts.
In the first place, he's lying. He doesn't compose ten, it's less.
And secondly, I think up more. I haven't counted up how many I think up in a month, but it must be more than he does . . .
And I, for example, don't throw it in everyone's face that I, say, possess a colossal mind. I have quite sufficient evidence to consider myself a great man. Yes and, at any rate, I do consider myself such.
That is why it is insulting and painful for me to find myself among people who are inferior to me in terms of mind, insight and talent, and not to feel that I am accorded the respect that is fully my due.
Why, oh why am I better than everyone else?
3.
Now I have understood everything: Leonid Savel'evich is a German. He even has German habits. Look at the way he eats. Well, he's a pure German, that's all there is to it! Even by his legs you can tell that he's a German.
Without boasting at all, I am able to say that I am very observant and witty.
So, for example, if you take Leonid Savel'evich, Yuri Berzin and Vol'f Erlikh and line them all up together on the pavement, then you could well call them: major, minor and minimus.
In my view that's witty, because it's moderately funny.
And all the same, Leonid Savel'evich is a German! I really must tell him this when I see him.
I don't consider myself an especially intelligent person, but all the same I have to say that I'm more intelligent than all the rest. Perhaps there's someone more intelligent than me on Mars, but I don't know about on Earth.
For instance, they say that Oleinikov is very intelligent. And in my view he is intelligent, but not very. He discovered, for example, that if you write a '6' and turn it upside down, then you get a '9'. And in my view that's just stupid.
Leonid Savel'evich is absolutely right when he says that someone's mind is their worth. And if there is no mind, that means there is no worth. Yakov Semyonovich argues with Leonid Savel'evich and says that someone's mind is their weakness. And in my view that's already a paradox. Why ever should the mind be a weakness? Not at all. Rather, it's a stronghold. I think so, anyway.
We often get together at Leonid Savel'evich's and talk about this. If an argument breaks out, then I always turn out the winner of the argument. I myself don't know why.
Everyone regards me with a certain astonishment for some reason. Whatever I do, everyone finds it astonishing.
I don't even make any effort. Everything seems to work out of its own accord.
Zabolotsky said some time that I was born to govern the spheres. He must have been joking. No such idea has ever entered my head.
In the Writers' Union I am considered an angel, for some reason.
Listen, my friends! In fact you shouldn't bend the knee before me like that. I am just the same as all of you, only better.
4.
I have heard the phrase: 'Seize the moment'. It's easily said, but hard to do. In my view, it's a meaningless expression. And really, you can't call for the impossible.
I say this with complete certainty, because I have tested everything on myself. I have grabbed at the moment but not managed to seize it and have merely broken my watch. Now I know that it's impossible.
it's also impossible to 'seize the epoch', because it's the same as the moment, only a bit more so.
It's another matter if you say: 'Document what is happening at this moment' . . . That is quite another matter.
So, for example: one, two, three! Nothing happened! And so I have documented a moment in which nothing happened.
I told Zabolotsky about this. He was very taken by this and sat the whole day counting: one, two, three! And made notes that nothing had happened.
Shvarts caught Zabolotsky at this activity. And Shvarts also took an interest in this original means of documenting what was happening in our epoch, since an epoch is formed out of moments.
But I beg to draw your attention to the fact that once again I was the prime mover of this method. Me again! Me everywhere! It's simply astonishing!
What comes with difficulty to others comes easily to me!
I can even fly. But I'm not going to tell you about that because, come what may, nobody will believe it.
5.
Whenever two people are playing chess, it always seems to me that one is fooling the other. Especially if they are playing for money.
In general, I find any kind of playing for money disgusting. I forbid gambling in my presence.
And as for card players, I would have them executed. That would be the best method of getting to grips with games of chance.
Instead of playing card games, it would be better if people would get together and read each other a bit of ethics.
Though ethics is rather boring. Womanizing is more fun.
Women have always interested me. Women's legs have always excited me, especially above the knee.
Many people consider women to be depraved creatures. But not me! On the contrary, I even consider them to be somehow quite pleasant.
A plumpish young woman! What's depraved about her? She's not depraved at all!
Children are another matter. They are usually said to be innocent. And I consider that they might well be innocent, but anyway they are highly loathsome, especially when they are dancing. I always make an exit from anywhere where there are children.
Leonid Savel'evich also doesn't like children. And it was me who inspired him with such ideas.
. . . Generally speaking, everything that Leonid Savel'evich says has already been said some time earlier by me.
And that doesn't only go for Leonid Savel'evich.
Everyone is only too pleased to pick up even scraps of my ideas. I even find this funny.
For example, Oleinikov ran up to me yesterday, saying that he had got into a complete muddle over questions of existence. I gave him some sort of advice and discharged him. He went off delighted with me and in his very best mood.
People see me as a means of support, they repeat my words, they are astonished by my actions, but they don't pay me money.
Foolish people! Bring me money, the more the better, and you will see how pleased that will make me.
6.
Now I'll say a few words about Aleksandr Ivanovich. *
He's a wind-bag and a card player. But what I value him for is his obedience to me.
By day and by night he dances attendance on me, just waiting for a hint from me of some command. I have only to proffer such a hint and Aleksandr Ivanovich flies like the wind to carry out my wish. For this I bought him some shoes and said: -- There you are, wear them! And so he wears them.
Whenever Aleksandr Ivanovich arrives at Gosizdat, they all laugh and say to each other that Aleksandr Ivanovich has come for his money.
Konstantin Ignat'evich Drovatsky hides under the table. I say this in an allegorical sense.
More than anything, Aleksandr Ivanovich loves macaroni.
He always eats it with ground rusks and he gobbles up almost a whole kilo, and perhaps even much more.
Having eaten his macaroni, Aleksandr Ivanovich says he feels sick and lies down on the divan. Sometimes the macaroni comes back up.
Aleksandr Ivanovich doesn't eat meat and he doesn't like women. Although sometimes he likes them. Apparently, even very often.
But the women whom Aleksandr Ivanovich likes, to my taste, are all ugly, and therefore we shall consider that they are not even women at all.
If I say a thing, that means it's correct. I don't advise anyone to argue with me, as they will just be made a fool of, because I get the last word with everyone.
And it's no use you bandying words with me. That's already been tried. I've seen them all off! Never mind that I look as though I can barely talk, but when I get going, there's no stopping me.
Once I got going at the Lipavskys and that was that! I talked them all to death! Then I went off to the Zabolotskys and talked everyone's head off there. Then I went to the Shvartses and talked everyone's head off there. Then I arrived home and talked half the night away again there!