Haunted by megrims

There’s a scene in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou that has always resonated with me. I can’t find a clip of it online, and I’m too lazy to make one. Here’s the script, though:

It is night.

George Nelson, now strangely quiet, holds a coffee cup and stares gloomily into the fire.

After a long beat, Delmar, also staring into the fire, slaps one knee and ejaculates:

Damn but that was some fun though, won it George?!

George responds, barely audible and without brightening:


Everett and Pete exchange significant looks. Delmar, however, is less sensitive to the Babyface’s mood.

Almost makes me wish I hadn’t been saved! Jackin’ up banks – I can see how a fella could derive a lot a pleasure and satisfaction out of it!

…it’s okay…

Whoa doggies!

At length George swishes the coffee around his cup, shrugs, tosses the coffee and rises.

…Well, I’m takin’ off.

He digs into a pocket and tosses his car keys to a dumbfounded Delmar.

You boys can have the automobile.

Glassy-eyed, he continues to dig in his pockets and lets his money fall to the ground.

‘N might as well take my share a the riches.

What the – where you goin’, George?

George has turned woodenly and walks away, leaving the campfire’s flickering circle of light.

…I dunno… who cares…

Delmar stares at Everett, who looks appraisingly at George’s retreating back. Pete scrambles to pick up the loose money.

Now wuddya suppose is eatin’ George?

Well ya know, Delmar, they say that with a thrill-seekin’ personality,
what goes up must come down. Top of the world one minute, haunted by megrims the next. Yep, it’s like our friend George is a alley cat and his own  damn humors’re swingin’ him by the tail. But don’t worry, Delmar; he’ll be back on top again. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of George Nelson.

I wouldn’t say I’m “thrill-seeking”, but sometimes I strongly identify with George’s defeated listlessness in this scene. There’s always a price to be paid.

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