Wanderlino Arruda
Djalma Souto


The Almanac

Wanderlino Arruda

There is much deliciously enjoyable literature circulating about in the form of books, newspapers and magazines. There is also much pleasantry to be had in the reading of letters from friends, small messages or even from loose pages, displaced and forgotten. But what is really entertaining is the reading found in almanacs, the most popular of all known data banks. Rich deposits of well-dosed wisdom, within the reach of all curious fingers! How interesting are these conveniently small books made of cheap, ordinary paper and commonly distributed every year by enterprising laboratories and drugstores! How useful and inoffensive are teachings and simple hints found inside, always spiced and spliced with lines of good solid humor inserted alongside the cough syrup ads! If the information is useful or not doesn’t really matter to curious eyes… The reading of the almanac is an enjoyable tonic for the health of the heart and cool, soothing shade for weary eyes. Who knows this better than any other is my friend and comrade, the philosopher, Antônio Joaquim, insatiable and untiring devourer of all material that is considered pastime reading.

One afternoon an old treasure came to my hands, during the annual organization of my library drawers. It was a very old 1983 Sadol almanac of the thirty-eighth edition, distributed by the Almeida Pharmacy, of Taiobeiras, Sao Paulo state which belongs to an old friend of mine, Antonino, one of the most admirable personalities that I have ever had the pleasure to know. What a deliciously wonderful thing, Ms. Lisbela, mainly for yourself, who knows so well how to appreciate the good things in life! It’s almost like the advertisement that the City Hall invented for our city, that “Montes Claros is beautiful and delicious.”

Look, Ms. Vera Lúcia, wife of Antônio Joaquim, what a useful culture Greek has been for your famous husband from Grão Mogol! These words with Greek radicals, for example, which indicate fears and manias:
Acrophobia – abnormal fear of heights;
Claustrophobia – abnormal fear of closed places;
Gerontophobia – abnormal fear of the elderly;
Icon mania – passion for signs and images;
Megalomania – mania of self-greatness;
Misogamy – fear of marriage;
Misogyny – fear of women;
Logo mania – mania of continuous speaking Pyromania – abnormal incendiary mania;
It’s not necessary for Antônio Joaquim to jot these words down, because they are already very well known to those who played… on the football team of the Melo neighborhood…

In another part of the almanac we are shown how dangerous the automobile is! Did you know that since it’s creation, especially after the invention of the Ford Model-T, that those wonderful and astounding machines have already done in with over twenty-five million people, worldwide! A slaughter surpassing all known wars perpetrated upon the face of the earth during this century. The fact that China, the most populated country in the world has the lowest number of automobile accidents makes one think: It’s the world’s poorest country in relation to the number of cars in circulation. In China, there is only one vehicle for every 11,600 inhabitants. That is even less than the statistics show for our nearby Pedras de Maria da Cruz, a neighboring small and sleepy hamlet.

And how about this? The Japanese consume daily, more than one thousand snakes as medical remedies, even though the commercialization of these reptiles is absolutely forbidden in that country.

There, snakes are displayed alive in windows of specialized shops, so that clients can handpick their preferred choices. A cooked snake is considered an infallible cure for tuberculosis, rheumatism and cancer in the Far East. Here in Brazil, in some remote places of the northeast, when hunger presses, the snake has many times proven its worth in alleviating growling stomachs.

Let’s learn more about honey: Did you know that one pound of it is the fruit of the nectar of seven million flowers? One hundred grams of it contains as many calories as two chicken eggs. Honey also exerts strong influence over the body’s blood pressure, lowering it. In its pure form, it contains the equivalent of seventy to seventy-five percent of grape sugar, The blood absorbs more than ninety five percent of the honey found in the body with no problems whatsoever. Doctors indiscriminately recommend the use of honey for all persons of all ages.

Alright, that’s just fine, but can we be sure that our honey producers, over there on the west side of the Cintra neighborhood continue to have the bees and flowers, the grapes, and all the necessary almanac formulas and hints for the proper maintenance of the honey industry. That is what the last page of the city newspaper always complains about.

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