Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
i have read this a hundred times and man, let’s face it, ok. let’s stop FUCKING AROUND and kidding ourselves and so on and just admit that this is one of the greatest chain of sentences any human being has ever strung together. it is pure and beautiful. it accomplishes the truly rare feat of being a perfect peanut-butter-and-jelly combination of sad and funny all swirled together. here is a dude who, one paragraph into the book, is already your buddy. call me ishmael! walk with me as i tell you what it takes for me to not fucking kill myself!
this is so good i want to scream (and have in the past)