Lurking with Intent to Mope


“Lurking with intent to mope.”

I burst out laughing when I heard this, even though I was listening to a Fresh Air tribute to David Carr, the New York Times reporter who died from cancer this week. Carr himself provided the laugh, quoting a police officer’s description of him during his years of crack addiction and petty crime. The cop was so tired of Carr being hauled in all the time that he looked up from his desk at the pathetic loser before him and said, “Oh, you again. What are you in for now? Oh, yeah–lurking with intent to mope.”

I can so relate. Not to the crack addict and petty criminal part, but to the wallow of self-pity. So all-encompassing. So hideous. So delicious. And as hard as any addiction to break.

It took cancer to break mine. Cancer is like a white-hot brush fire that burns away neurosis, leaving in its wake a deep appreciation and sharpened clarity about what matters. For a while, at least, it becomes very clear that life is just too short for lurking with intent to mope.

Cancer’s other lesson is that neuroses grow back faster than hair, so although I never brood like I used to,  I’m still an occasional contender.

I happened to hear David Carr’s interview on the first day of Lent, which gave me the inspiration I’d been seeking. As a lapsed Unitarian, I don’t really grok with the notion of self-sacrifice. But since I enjoy the camaraderie of commiseration, I like to cast about for something to give up. Not something impossible, like chocolate, mind you.

But lurking with intent to mope? I’ll try to forego it for forty-eight days.


Can you relate to “lurking with intent to mope?”  What will you give up for Lent?