From the wonderful Letters of Note blog comes this brilliant missive from H. L. Mencken. I idolize Mencken and think he was one of the best writers the English language has ever had. His lucidity and enchanting way with language far surpass any writer who has lived since.

This letter, sent to the abstract painter Charles Green Shaw, is a scattered list of seemingly haphazard observations. It bares reading in its entirety, but below is an excerpt from the transcription provided by Letters of Note:

10. I believe in marriage, and have whooped it up for years. It is the best solution, not only of the sex question, but also of the living question. I mean for the normal man. My own life has been too irregular for it: I have been to much engrossed in other things. But any plausible gal who really made up her mind to it could probably fetch me, even today. If I ever marry, it will be on a sudden impulse, as a man shoots himself. I’ll regret it bitterly for about a month, and then settle down contentedly.

11. I believe in and advocate monogamy. Adultery is hitting below the belt. If I ever married the very fact that the woman was my wife would be sufficient to convince me that she was superior to all other women. My vanity is excessive. Wherever I sit is the head of the table. This fact makes me careless of ordinary politeness. I don’t like to be made much of. Such things please only persons who are doubtful about their position. I was sure of mine, such as it is, at the age of 12.

12. Pilsner should be in Roman type, and begin with a capital.

13. I usually lie to women. They expect it, and it is pleasant to watch them trying to detect it. They seldom succeed. Women have a hard time in this world. Telling them the truth would be too cruel.

14. I am completely devoid of religious feeling. All religions seem ridiculous to me, and in bad taste. I do not believe in the immortality of the soul, nor in the soul. Ecclesiastics seem to me to be simply men who get their livings by false pretenses. Like all rogues, they are occasionally very amusing.

I strongly encourage you to read the whole thing. It is well worth your time and attention.