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  • Deb Puretz

Covid Art 42: By Knowledge Seduced

In 1975 I was a senior at UCLA, taking classes between 8 – noon, and working in the afternoon. My job was as a secretary to a private patent attorney whose office was on Sunset Blvd in Beverly Hills, California. I could drive either Sunset or Wiltshire Blvd from UCLA in Westwood to his office in 35 minutes. My wonderful boss was more like a grandfather to me than a boss: in fact I stayed friends with him until he died, then with his wife for another decade until she died. Delmar taught me so much more than about office etiquette: he introduced me to Indian mystics, dessert wines, the ‘old’ Hollywood from the 30s and 40s and the remaining landmark restaurants and chocolate shops, and that happiness could be living vicariously through books if your spouse didn’t want to travel as much as you did. It was Delmar who gifted me an 1895 Encyclopedia Britannica from which many of my derive. This one covers the contents with a fringed skirt of Japanese paper, echoing grass skirts of the Pacific Islanders and the seduction of fringed skirts in many other cultures as well. Seduction of many kinds whisks us away from knowledge… and knowledge takes us away from our valuable worldly experience as well. It is good to question what “we know”, especially in 2020.

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