Abstract: In which The Blogger once again tries his hand at poetry–taking up, on this occasion, an extended lyric poem on a decidedly philosophical theme–with not entirely unsatisfactory results.
[Editors’ Note: Oh my word. No. Please. No. Just no. The results are, in fact, entirely unsatisfactory.]
[A Different Set of Editors: Well, it’s actually not so bad. It isn’t really a poem, though… it’s more like, um, the diseased ravings of Jim Carrey shortly after he’s been run over by an oxcart carrying fourteen sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica and a fifth of Scotch]
Here’s to the lovers, the fighters, the pastry-cooks, the readers of books, the silverware crooks, the Brandybucks and Tooks, the hiders in cute little nooks, the buffalo hunters, the baseball bunters, the responsibility shunters, the manic-depressives in their tawdry, dimly-lit, centerfold-bedecked missions….
The butchers, the bakers, the candlestick makers, the French accent fakers, the cop movie Brubakers, the mass-murdering Quakers, the doggone-it-i’m-a-gonna-take-what’s-mine takers, the “Dang it, my lower back hurts!” achers, whatever (i’m not judging!) may be y’all’s traditions….
Whatever it is you’re doing, whether or not it involves the academic life, or, like, maybe something else, like maybe washing windows, or picking up trash in the city park, or, y’know, collecting people’s household garbage, or, um, cleaning toilet stalls or whatever, i dunno, ANYWAY, my point IS, all i urge is that you do it with precision!
That you drink life to the lees–whatever that means, i’ve never been 100% sure–what a strange expression, when you think about it!–“drinking life to the lees”–i bet it doesn’t actually mean anything–but it’s too late, i guess i’ve already used it–dammit, this sort of thing happens to me with distressing regularity–and, you know, do the stuff, accomplish all the things, take advantage of every opportunity afforded by your position!
And what can be my reason for wishing you all these things, you ask? Ah. Aha! Yes. I totally get your curiosity. In fact, i admire it. That’s gonna get you places. The tendency to question and search out that which is mysterious and hidden is the mark of a wise sort of person. Well, look here, my answer has got a lot to do with philosophy. Yup. Yer dern tootin’… you see, i’m a logician.
I salute you, seekers, peekers, wearers of sneakers, freakers, geekers, just a little bit of pee leakers, i-like-to-carve-little-hippo-figurines-out-of-teak-ers, bongo players, small town mayors, hippo figurine displayers, jewel arrayers, county fayers, other people’s bill-payers, when-you’ve-got-a-headache-you-take-Bayer’s, stuffed nose blowers, broken lawn mowers, people who like fives better than fowers, folks who feel, deep inside, like you’ve been assigned to discharge some sort of creepy secret mission….
[“Um, that’s probably enough with the lists of various sorts of people. Might want to move on to other topics.” –The Editors]
Ah, yes. Of course. Very good! So, let’s cut to the heart of the matter. Philosophy is at the center of a life well-lived. There’s nothing wrong, of course, in being a butcher, a baker, a candlestick-maker, a doctor, a lawyer, an indian chief, a rich man, a poor man, a beggar man, or a thief… [The Editors: “Grrrrrrrr.”] …well, actually, it could be cogently argued that there’s something wrong with this last item, but i expect you get the point… [The Editors: “Okay, okay…”] …but what i’m saying is, it’s way better to be a philosopher! Because being a philosopher is like driving a luxury car that emits zero emissions!
[“Wut.” –The Editors]
If you’ve ever been in trouble with the law of diminishing returns… [The Editors: “Wut.”] …and you can’t wait till the next hamburger burns… [The Editors: “Look, now, you’re just sticking words together randomly to get them to rhyme!”] …and you don’t understand the ways in which your heart yearns… [The Editors: “Well. Much better. Carry on.”] …and you’ve stopped purchasing poppies and have begun purchasing ferns… [The Editors: “Wut.”] …and you can’t comprehend why the seagulls and the terns break forth in song every time they’re threatened with extradition….
[“Wut. Okay. Fine. We totally give up. He can spew forth whatever nonsense he wants to. We are officially pulling out of the process.” –The Editors]
And, well, back to philosophers and whatnot, the point is, a life well-lived is a joy forever, and a game of Risk is better than a roll in the heather, and a stitch in good time can save any endeavor, and too many cooks will tend to spoil the freaking broth, and Your Mom may be a lobster, but i think she’s a sloth–heh heh–and, y’know, all that sort of thing–but what my point is, um, uh… [hesitates for a moment as he looks back over the stanza thus far] …oh yeah, a life well-lived is the philosopher’s stone, and, um, something about i’ll take the flesh but i’d rather have the bone, and, um, uh, um. Uh. Okay. I need a word that rhymes. Rendition!
[The Editors: “We said we’d stay out of it, and we’re staying out. It’s sort of lovely, in a macabre way, watching this fellow drown himself repeatedly.”]
And, um, that’s about it for this section of the poem. Yer dern tootin’, i’m a logician.
All hail the monolithic maestros in their flame-webbed cabin barbecue bashers! Let us rise in acclamation of the buggy-riding barristers in their thuggy robes, riding into the city smelling of gummy bears and atom smashers! Let us sally forth to grasp the tyrannical teetotaling toddlers as they toddle into the town like a bunch of windshield washers! I don’t know about Your Mom, but mine’s riding the rails and getting besotted on the left-over fragments of someone else’s 40-yard-dashers! And, um, uh, now it’s time for a, uh, uh, transition.
[The Editors: “This tidal wave of horrific tripe is both ear-splittingly appalling and inexplicably pleasing at the same time. We don’t know how the man does it.”]
We freak out, totally, and i mean TOTALLY, in response to the crowds’ acclamations, the surging forth of the wonderless wuns, er, “ones,” who close their hearts and open their bladders upon the transphyxiation of the bludinous cartiscopathy–um, i just made those words up, heh heh heh–but anyway, we’re working our way toward “fission”–a bit of a spoiler for ya, there–um–and the flockbinkers march in deadly formation as the progenitors of the Flockbinker Nation, and i catch a whiff of Chanel #5 in the air… still tryin’ to get to “fission”… um… and, y’know, sometimes it can be hard to give a care, um, uh, as the, um, i think this may be it, um, melting-down nuclear reactors engage in fits and splurts of, uh, hazardous fission… yay!….
[The Editors: “Two of us died while that section was in progress, and Zachary over here seems to have slipped into a coma.”]
And then, um–gosh, this poem is getting kind of long–uh, how about something like, er, uh, the heart’s deteriorating condition…
[The Editors: “That section was mercifully short! Zachary may be able to hold out until the end of the poem!”]
And then maybe a point about how, er, stuff tends to blow up when it is subjected to, uh, oh crap, uh, uh, y’know …demolition.
[The Editors: “Mmmmm. Yes.”]
And, um, sorta need to wrap this baby up, um, uh: Yer dern tootin’, i’m a logician.
Canto Four: The Conclusion
Well, doggone it! Would you check it out! We sure didn’t anticipate THIS one, did we? (You never can tell just what’s going to happen next, can ya.) Apparently all this discussion of philosophy has constituted some sort of crime against the state! (Who knew?) And so the court has ordered me to appear on charges of–i assume–philosophical ambition.
They (i assume) think i’ve been taking it upon myself to delve into the Deeper Questions… like, you know, “Where did everything come from?” and “What is the purpose of a human life” and “How ought one–if, that is, one were a donkey–to choose between two or more equally tasty-looking bales of hay?” and “What is the source of meaning?” and “What is the average airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?” …and my internet posts, they (almost certainly) say, do not in any way place me above suspicion.
This is apparently a serious crime. (Who knew?) In this technocratic day and age, you’re not supposed to be a thinker. I guess you’re just supposed to piddle around with dumb-ass areas of study–like computer programming or ancient Baltic historiography or nuclear physics, or the translation of medieval Anglo-Saxon texts into modern Slovenian, or the development of arcane economic models as applied to populations of planetary colonists–nonsense that requires no intellectual rigor. If found guilty, i fear i may have to do 10 to 20 years in prision–
Oops! They’ve called me–wish me luck!–i’m supposed to go with this uniformed gentleman here. I reckon this means that i have to go defend my passionate yearning to know and live the truth (although, according to this uniformed gentleman, the charges have more to do with “creating a public nuisance” and “publishing statements that are the functional equivalent of pink drool” and “being an idiot on government property” and “saying things that are so dumb, even a cage full of intoxicated hamsters would know better”) or, in other words, y’know, i shall give my deposition.
And here we are in the courtroom. What was that, your Honor? My profession, you ask? Well, that’s easy, your Honor. Philosophy! What? I can’t possibly be serious, you say? Well, sorry to burst your bubble and whatnot, but it’s true. Hmm? Do i expect this court to take such a claim seriously? Well, golly, i’m afraid so. Do people actually still do philosophy in this postmodern day and age, you want to know? Particularly cud-chewing morons with IQs in the negative numbers, who struggle even to figure out how to put on their undies? Well, doggone it, i’m not entirely sure i understood the question, but, well, anyway: Yer dern tootin’, your Honor… i mean, hey, look at me: i’m a logician.
Epilogue: Or, The Editors Have the Last Word
The final tally: two dead, Zachary doesn’t look like he’s going to pull through, and three of us have developed a sudden malady that involves uncontrollable shaking. Apart from that, we seem to have made it to the end of the poem unscathed. The disquieting thought lurks in the backs of our minds: does this guy ever plan to write ANOTHER poem?
[Two more of the Editors lapse into fits of uncontrollable shaking]