The late Louisiana physician, philosopher, and novelist Walker Percy would have been 100 years old today. Alas, he left us in 1990 and went on his sovereign wayfaring way into the Cosmos.
His 1971 novel, Love in the Ruins (the Adventures of a Bad Catholic at a Time Near the End of the World), is one of my favorites, and frequently cited in my book, Farewell to Football. This painting depicts some of the main plot points for this comic novel:
Dr. Tom More, depicted with the rifle, has invented the lapsometer, which helps him diagnose and treat maladies of the souls of fallen men and women. His adventures include romances with three women (the Aggie Lola Rhodes is depicted playing her cello), drinking gallons of Early Times whisky, and fighting evil personified as a bureaucrat in a “bi-swing” jacket. Oh, and that cloud in the background? A heavy sodium reaction that threatens the End of the World.
In Farewell to Football, I describe Mass at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Houston, TX, on Super Bowl Sunday, and allude to three Thomas Mores: the saint, martyred for holding firm in his Catholic faith in opposition to his king, Henry VII; his literary-legal alter ego, Sir Thomas More, chancellor of England and writer of Utopia; and Percy’s fictional soul-healer with the lapsometer and the bottomless bottle of Early Times. More and More and More.
RIP Saint, Sir, and Doc!