Ego sub nullius officium agere

I may risk electrocution later this morning. I’ve had a ceiling fan speed control switch sitting on my desk for months, its installation waiting for my rage to subside from the last time I installed one just like it for another fan. When I installed the last one, a project that should have taken 15 minutes, I took about two hours, thanks to the fact that the junction box into which the body of the control had to fit was filled with inflexible wires. In spite of the many obstacles to its installation, I got the last one in. But I had help; I was able to rely on my wife to tell me whether the power was off when I flipped breakers in the garage. This time, I have no one to assist. It will just take longer to ensure that I’ve cut the power. But the longer it takes, the less patient I become. The last installation, for example, was completed two hours in, but only after I managed to put the switch in upside down. Yet it works. It remains upside down. Perhaps I should correct that mistake before making another one.

Whatever. I may not work on either of them today. Perhaps, instead, I’ll spend my morning making and consuming a Bloody Mary or six, thus deadening my rage t fan speed control switches. Not likely; I think I need to conserve celery to make tuna salad. A Bloody Mary is not a Bloody Mary in the absence of a celery stalk poking out of the glass. And drinking alone, in the morning, is a bad sign. “A bad sign.” If I recall correctly, “Born Under a Bad Sign” was a track off an album called Strange Brew by Cream/Eric Clapton. After a pause to explore whether my memory was working, I’m back to report that I was right about the tune, but it was written by Booker T. Jones and was also recorded by blues artist Albert King. I don’t know who recorded it first.

I just noticed I switched from ceiling fan speed control to early morning alcohol consumption to celery to competing tracks of what has become a blues classic. And it’s not even 7:00 a.m. yet.


My interest in the companionship of a dog has surfaced again, as it does from time to time. Except I recognize it, now, as a temporary state of mental exhaustion that will subside when I realize the extent of the obligation and the costs of veterinary care, food, and such. Maybe fostering a little homeless beast for a period would be appropriate? Probably not; my wife, when she returns home, would find evidence that I gave in to my yearning for a pet. Best to let the pet-ache pass.


As I gaze out the window, I see evidence that I might drown if I went outdoors and took a deep breath. The fog is not as thick as it sometimes is, but for some reason it seems more dangerous, as if could replace the oxygen in my lungs with water in a single breath. I think it’s the fact that the fog embraces leaves on trees so tightly that the leaves cannot move. The wet air is holding them captive, motionless, waiting for the leaves to succumb to humid suffocation before dripping away from them, leaving them limp and lifeless.


What am I thinking? This is the weekend! I am therefore under no obligation to do anything other than enjoy my free time. I need not replace fan switches, wash windows, organize household paperwork, shower, shave, or otherwise engage in productive tasks. That does not mean I will not do those things; only that I am absolved of responsibility for them until after 11:59 p.m. Sunday evening.  That takes a modest load off my shoulders. Not enough to eliminate my desire for a thorough neck massage; desire is a wish with no expectation of attainment.


Regardless of obligations, I’ve decided to do something other than write. My fingers need a rest and my expanding belly is screaming to be fed. So I shall feed it. Because I am nothing if not a benevolent servant of my gustatory wishes. Ego sub nullius officium agere. If Google Translate is correct, those words are Latin for “I am under no obligation to act.”

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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4 Responses to Ego sub nullius officium agere

  1. Curiously, I decided to opt out of anything especially dangerous or taxing. It was a wise, if shiftless, decision.

  2. Curious in Calabasas says:

    So, what did you eventually end up doing?

  3. Always, Linda!

  4. Linda Pennington Black says:

    Be careful!

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