Oh. Oh oh oh, this is good.
January 7 was not just Gerald Durrell’s birthday; it was Nicholson Baker’s, too! (N.B. previously on Snarkmarket.) So here’s a character of Baker’s talking about Horace’s most famous phrase: Carpe diem! Seize the day! Well, er, actually:
…here’s the thing. Horace didn’t say that. “Carpe diem” doesn’t mean seize the day—it means something gentler and more sensible. “Carpe diem” means pluck the day. Carpe, pluck. Seize the day would be “cape diem,” if my school Latin serves. No R. Very different piece of advice.
There’s more, and it’s sooo good, over at Varia:
Don’t freaking grab the day in your fist like a burger at a fairground and take a big chomping bite out of it. That’s not the kind of man that Horace was.