“The Superannuated Man” by Charles Lamb

I didn’t have any riveting insight on this one, although I did enjoy it. I found that it was mostly narratively based, at least that is what I took the most interest in. I wasn’t familiar with “superannuation,” but by the end of the essay I knew what it was. I was worried, like he was, that he was going to be fired. But the insight that he had into time was most interesting. I had never thought of time like that before. I think many of the time these essayists try to look at things in a very different way. They try to avoid the cliche perceptions of things. I’ve noticed this in many other essays that we have read. I’m just thinking of all the essays on the subject of walking, as a point in case. There we see that there are many different ways of looking at the same thing. Virginia Woolf sees it as a haunting. Henry David Thoreau thinks that it will save man from himself, and Max Beerbohm thinks that it works more like an anesthetic. All of these authors are trying to move past the old cliche view of the subjects they are working with. Lamb, in this essay, of course is overjoyed by the fact of his superannuation, but he begins to look on it with horror and disdain as well, if only slightly. Yet he does ruminate on this mood and complicates the idea further by spending time on this. Yet these essayists won’t completely ignore the cliche perceptions and views of their subjects, rather they move past them. I think that all successful essayists will do this: move beyond the cliche way of looking at something. The essay entitled On the Pleasure of Hating is also a good example of this. Most people would look at hating as such a poor thing to do, such a wicked thing, yet the author spends enough time with the subject and moves far enough past the easy answers that he comes up with more to say than telling us not to hate because it’s bad. So there, I did this myself as I was writing, as I essayed out what I liked about this essay on The Superannuated Man. It was moving past the fact that I liked it to something more meaningful, and I am sure that if I spent even more time writing I would come to even more insights and conclusions. Such is the nature of essaying, and perhaps such is the nature of life, as Lamb says here: “Where was the quiet, where the promised rest? Before I had a taste of it, it was vanished.” Where was the time to write, where was the epiphany I just had. Before I had a taste of it, before I wrote it down, it was vanished.