There are two Falstaffs.
Day Falstaff is sincere and studious. He wakes at 6:30 every morning, is hard at work by 8. Day Falstaff is a workaholic, insanely organised, superhumanly efficient, the kind of person who has a schedule for everything and would be lost without his calendar. He's also a serious kind of guy - tries to keep himself abreast of current affairs, is interested in politics and philosophy and in all things mathematical. Day Falstaff analyses everything. He never trifles with fiction and poetry and stuff like that - he doesn't see the point. Instead, he spends his time doing Research, which he's passionate about. Day Falstaff reads prescribed texts. Day Falstaff's favourite words are 'institutional' and 'artefact'. Day Falstaff is kind of boring.
For all that, Day Falstaff isn't a bad guy once you get to know him. He's kind and mild-mannered, likes children and animals (when they're not interfering with his research), is surprisingly generous. Day Falstaff shaves. Day Falstaff is careful of his appearance. The truth is Day Falstaff rather likes people, it's just that he's shy and insecure and doesn't make friends easily. That's why he never goes to parties, for instance (not that he's ever invited) - he doesn't have the nerve. Not surprisingly, Day Falstaff has no luck with women. They think he's sweet, but too vanilla. As a result, Day Falstaff goes to bed early.
Night Falstaff, on the other hand, is a Byronic madman. He's a wastrel, a good for nothing, wakes up at 7 in the evening and stays awake till the wee hours of dawn. Dreams of being an artist or some such. Swings wildly between manic depressiveness and visionary exhilaration. Drinks like a fish and has, on several occassions, narrowly escaped drowning in his own puke. Is always unkempt and badly dressed, never combs his hair, is proud of his stubble.
Night Falstaff's ambition in life is to be a tortured genius. So far he's doing a good job of being tortured.
For all that, Night Falstaff is the artistic one. Writes poetry, goes to concerts and the ballet. Worships Bach. Is a voracious reader, averaging three maybe four novels a week. Reads books simultaneously, taking a break from one to read the other. Calls it chain reading. Cries easily, for all his uncouthness. Is deeply moved by beauty wherever he finds it.
Night Falstaff is social too, in his own way. Doesn't really care for people much, has nothing but contempt for them in general, but is capable of being hysterically funny and unequivocally charming when he wants to be. With a couple of drinks in him, is capable of being the life of the party. Puns endlessly, is full of wisecracks, proficient in wordplay. Quotes Auden a lot. Night Falstaff doesn't have much luck with women either, but that's mostly because he's too cynical about relationships to commit. Besides, a lot of people think Night Falstaff is gay.
Day Falstaff counts calories, has salads for lunch and homecooked meals for dinner, takes his vitamins. Night Falstaff exists on a diet of caffeine and chocolate.
Day Falstaff e-mails his mother every day. Night Falstaff likes to believe that he just appeared out of the sky. Night Falstaff doesn't believe in family. Night Falstaff blogs.
Day Falstaff reads the New York Times and the Economist. Night Falstaff doesn't believe in newspapers, and is fond of quoting Thoreau on the subject.
Day Falstaff has high blood pressure. Night Falstaff has a homo-erotic death wish.
Day Falstaff is competitive. Night Falstaff couldn't care less.
Night Falstaff has toyed with the idea of suicide, but doesn't think he has the nerve. Day Falstaff has toyed with the idea of settling down, but doesn't think he has the nerve.
Day Falstaff dreams of coming up with the next Big Idea. Day Falstaff has never got over A Beautiful Mind. Night Falstaff doesn't watch films that are in English. Night Falstaff wants to become immortal, and then die.
Day Falstaff would be horrified if he read this post. Day Falstaff is very protective of his privacy. Day Falstaff never talks about himself. Night Falstaff is laughing himself silly imagining Day Falstaff's expression when he sees this in the morning. Night Falstaff thinks Day Falstaff is a prig.
What was it Edna St. Vincent Millay said?
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light!
Night Falstaff thinks this St. Vincent Millay woman is all wet. Day Falstaff thinks it's kind of touching, but wonders how you'd keep a candle burning at both ends. I mean it's not like it would fit in a candle stand. So do you just stand around holding it? But that's not much good, is it?
See what I mean?
Categories: Whimsy, Personal