Did you know that in Jimmy Carter's famous "malaise" speech, he never
actually uttered the word "malaise?" I read that in a book. But I don't
think it matters, because in 1979 you could actually feel the mess of
the world wriggling through the air, slurping the color out of people,
globbing them to the wall like spitballs.
Some synonyms for malaise: doldrums, envervation, unease. See also: gas
riots, Iranian revolution, American Airlines Flight 191, disco.
The year Carter never said "malaise" was the same year John Wayne died,
and Mary Pickford died, and Darryl Zanuck and Joan Blondell and Peggy
Guggenheim and Merle Oberon and Carl Laemmle, Jr., and Jean Seberg and
A. Phillip Randolph and Jean Renoir and Charles Mingus all died. Jimmy
Carter never said malaise, but he didn't have to because the skies were
filled with sad birds, slowly moving away from us.
You know, Wigleaf, it's like catching a cold, the way it feels like
1979 up in here. It's so dreadfully familiar, my head packed with
cement and sorrow. I was only a year old back then but my body
remembers melancholy, cold and inky and sour.
In 1979, Jimmy Carter was attacked by a swamp rabbit while fishing. Did
- - -
Read AS's story, "A History of Heart Disease."
w i g · l e a F