The other day I received a newsletter from an artist in Canada who sends a twice-weekly email arts newsletter. In it he spoke of standing next to Houdon’s life-sized bust of Voltaire at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
He writes:
“Voltaire, half smiling, appears to be looking at his
thoughts–perhaps at the tragicomic failings and follies of
humanity. His eyes twinkle with wisdom, wit and intelligent
doubt. The upper lids are sliced with mannerist lashes, giving
the eyes a disarmingly real, almost wet, look. His toothless
mouth appears about to speak. He was, after all, the man who
* The secret of being a bore is to tell everything.
* The secret of the arts is to correct nature.
* Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.
* The happiest of all lives is a busy solitude.
* Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.
* Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
* Work saves us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.”
I then found a website in which a Dr. Comeau says the following:
“We all know what it feels like to be bored. Is there some sort of psychological or biological mechanism involved in our becoming bored? Oddly enough, boredom is not a widely researched area. One theory identifies both boredom and anxiety as examples of a mismatch between situational demands and one’s perceived abilities. For example, we tend to experience anxiety when we feel demands are greater than our abilities, but we experience boredom when we find the task or situation is not challenging enough.”


I narcissistically conclude that both apply directly to me (although I’ve neither met Voltaire nor Dr. Comeau) and thus to this blog, in that I “tell too much” and yet perhaps the telling of said stories of mischief are clearly attempts to create a rematch between situational demands and my perceived abilities. Perhaps that is being a bore. But since there are many things I don’t tell, perhaps that is being not a bore. Therein lies the question, “to be, or not to be?”


…Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. – Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d…


The second picture is apropos of nothing. A reader sent it to me and I wanted to share it.



  1. Have you contemplated the difference between “high caliber” and “big bore?”

    I would choose being a bore rather than being bored; at least the bore is entertained.

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