Three talismans from Italo Calvino

Originally published at: Three talismans from Italo Calvino | Boing Boing


That last one reminds me of growing up during the Cold War. “Disappearing in a cloud of smoke” was one of the great fears, to the extent a 6th grade teacher, at about this time, proclaimed on the last day of school “You will probably all die in a nuclear war before you get to grow up, so go enjoy life while you still have it.”

Fun times. :frowning:


Naturally, we were all there—old Qfwfq said—where else could we have been? Nobody knew then that there could be space. Or time either: what use did we have for time, packed in there like sardines?

Incipit of ‘All in one point’ from the Cosmicomics - how not to be hooked?


Buon compleanno Italo Calvino


I recall this all too well. My father worked at the pentagon when I was in high school. He’d come home from work, knock back a few drinks, and pontificate on the future global nuclear war. “Sorry son, but it seems inevitable.” Fortunately, I was soaking up different perspectives from my teachers at school.


But being aware that everything we have can just disappear, in an instant, in a cloud of smoke.

Great, now I’m paranoid. Some Friday this is turning out to be.

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I’ve been reading the Stoics, and the last one is a lesson I’ve been trying to learn.

“Gifts which chance brings our way are not to be regarded as possessions”
"What fortune has made yours is not your own.” - Seneca

It’s hard trying to think of my children, my wife, my home, my friends, my sanity, as “gifts on loan from Fortune,” which could be called back at any time.

In theory this means I should treasure each moment with then, remembering they are finite. But it’s so hard to get out of the day-to-day complacency, allowing myself to get annoyed with my kids or whatever.


This is fantastic, thank you for finding and sharing.

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Not so good on #s 1 and 3, but but I have reams of paper scattered around the office just brimming with scribbles for 2’s.

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I mean, look at how much disappeared in a cloud of (infected) spittle over the past couple years.


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