I found a profound lesson about life in Moby Dick in Chapter 72.
Reading on a train just south of Tarrytown, NY.
(Yes. That’s an unseen photo of Grampa Mike Porco at 130 W. 3rd St Tony Pastor’s late 1960s.
Mike was connected to Gerde’s by a monkey rope. I’m connected to Mike’s deeds. Sonny Ochs is connected to her brother. Sharon D’Lugoff is tied to The Village Gate. Which one is here on earth grinding away? Which one is standing on the ship steadfastly holding on and which one is toiling on the captured game, splashing about with sharks at the ankle? I’ll let you know when I find out. Make your own determination🙏🏼)
“There is no staying in one place; for at one and the same time everything has to be done everywhere.”
“The poor harpooner flounders about, half on the whale and half in the water....the vast mass revolves like a treadmill beneath him.”
“The monkey-rope was fast to his canvas belt and to my leather one. It was humorously perilous business for us both.”
“So strongly and metaphysically did I conceive of my situation, that while earnestly watching his motions...that my free will had received a mortal wound ; and that another’s mistake or misfortune might plunge innocent me into unmerited disaster and death.”
“And yet still further pondering, I say, I saw that this situation of mine was the precise situation of every mortal that breathes.
If your banker breaks, you snap; if your apothecary by mistake sends you poison in your pills, you die.”
“By exceeding caution, you may possibly escape these and the multitudinous other evil chances in life. But handle the harpooner’s monkey-rope heedfully as I would, sometimes he jerked it so, that I came very near sliding overboard. I only had the management of one end of it.”
*The monkey-rope is found in all whaling ships in order to afford the imperiled harpooner the strongest possible guarantee for the faithfulness and vigilance of his monkey-rope holder
“Unappalled by the massacre during the night, the sharks now freshly and more keenly allured...swarmed round the carcass like bees in a beehive. The harpooner often pushed them aside with his floundering feet.
Suspended over the side, the hands continually flourished over his head a couple of keen whale-spades, wherewith they slaughtered as many sharks as they could reach. This procedure of theirs was disinterested and benevolent of them....those indiscreet spades of theirs would come nearer amputating a leg than a tail.
But the harpooner, I suppose, only prayed to his Yojo, and gave up his life into the hands of the gods.”
“But courage! There is good cheer in store for you.”