Archive | June, 2013

The Unexamined Death (a Mr. Deadman Outtake)

5 Jun

If, as Socrates said, the unexamined life is not worth living, then surely the unexamined death is not worth dying, Mr. Deadman reasons. But is it death, the state, or dying, the process, that he ought to examine? Pondering this dilemma, Mr. Deadman decides that it would be much more fruitful to scrutinize the dying than the death. After all, he realizes, all death is the same, each dying unique in its own way.



More Bagatelles Outtakes

3 Jun

I translated her into a foreign tongue, but it was a sloppy translation, and we both knew it. She protested, so I changed her back. Unfortunately, this too was a sloppy translation.

* * *
I often wished that she were somebody else. Nobody in particular, just somebody else. Sometimes she actually seemed like someone else, but I couldn’t forget, even for a moment, who she really was. This was occasionally intriguing, but most often frustrating. I was also aware that she often wished I were someone else, and I occasionally tried to accommodate her. Some of those times I even felt like somebody else, began to believe I was somebody else, until it struck me that I was becoming someone else for her, and this shocked me back to my true self.

* * *
We were obsessed with the idea of killing each other, and in order to keep the obsession alive we were compelled to keep each other alive.

* * *
Just to pass the time, we often passed the time.

* * *
We spoke to each other in tongues. I didn’t understand her tongue, she didn’t understand mine, but that didn’t stop us from speaking to each other in tongues, our ears took it all in nonetheless.

* * *
She was defacing our property. Vandal, I screamed, stop that. But she wouldn’t stop. Nor would she agree with my assessment. It’s a change for the better, she said.  You didn’t consult me, I said. We agreed that interior decorating was my province, she said. She was right, we had agreed.  I’d just have to get used to it.

* * *
She was showing signs of illness. Symptoms. She was exhibiting manifestations of something not quite right. I took stock of her symptoms. I catalogued them with relish. I considered the implications of these symptoms. I considered them in great detail. I considered the relationships among the symptoms. I considered this system of symptoms and the effect it was having on her own system. I was making great progress in my consideration of her symptoms when she interrupted my thoughts with a rather vulgar statement. I feel sick, she said.

A Veritable Cornucopia of Trio Bagatelles Outtakes

2 Jun

One: What a day!

Two: Rough day?

One: I wouldn’t say rough.

Three: Frustrating?

One: I wouldn’t say frustrating.

Two: Tiring?

One: No, I wouldn’t say tiring.

Three: Demoralizing?

One: No, demoralizing doesn’t quite capture it.

Two: Exasperating?

One: No, not really exasperating.

Three: Infuriating?

One: No, I wouldn’t say infuriating.

Two & Three: Well, then, what would you say?

One: What a day!

* * *

One: I think I’ve been going in the wrong direction.

Two: Where do you want to go?

One: In life. I think I’ve been going in the wrong direction in life.

Three: Where do you want to go?

One: In life?

Three: Yes, where do you want to go in life?

One: I don’t know. Someplace I’ve never been before, I suppose.

Two: In that case, the direction hardly makes a difference.

* * *

One: What if Mozart had lived to a ripe old age?

Three: What if?

One: Would he have continued to create masterpieces?

Two: Why not?

Three: There’s nothing to suggest otherwise.

One: But what if, all of a sudden, his genius petered out. What if he started writing drivel not even worthy of Salieri?

Two: Then history would take note of it, and his later works wouldn’t be performed, except as curiosities. He’d be remembered as a genius who lost the spark.

Three: Do you really think that’s true? I’m inclined to think there would be apologists for the later work. They wouldn’t be able to accept the fact that a genius like Mozart could lose it completely, and they’d prop up the chaff along with the wheat.

Two: You may have a point. So, what do you think?

One: Me? I don’t have time to waste on idle speculation.

* * *

One:  Apple.

Two: Oh, please!  Not fruit!

Three: Definitely not fruit!

One: Every time I start the two of you give me trouble.

Two: Oh, you’re exaggerating!

Three: Yes, you’re overreacting. We’re just trying to offer some constructive criticism.

One: You could have fooled me.

Two: Oh, just go ahead and try something else. No need to get all dramatic.

One:  All right, how about blue?

Three: I suppose we could do colors, if you really insist.

One:  Insist?  It’s my turn to start, so I start. You don’t like fruit, so I try something else. Now you give me a hard time about using a color. I don’t think I like playing with you two.

Three:  Relax, already. If you insist on a category as banal as colors we’ll be more than happy to play along, right?

Two:  Roger!

Three:  Magenta.

Two: Good job! At least we’ve progressed beyond the monosyllabic. Vermilion.

One:  Wait a minute.  Now you’re getting on my case about monosyllabic? It’s not as if I said plum the first time around, when I had no idea fruit was taboo, by the way. I had two respectable syllables until you shot me down.

Two:  Plum is a color as well as a fruit, you know.  Maybe you should have used plum the first time around.

One: All right, plum!

Two:  Are you saying plum?  In response to Vermilion?

One:  Yes.  I’m saying plum.

Three: All right, already. Plum. You’ve made yourself perfectly clear. Can we move on?

One:  I’m not stopping anybody.

Three:  Good. Immanuel Kant.

One:  Oh, sure.  Change the rules in the middle of the game. Do philosophers.  Don’t bother to consult with me.

Two:  David Hume!

One: The two of you really take the cake.

Two: Do you want to start over?  It’s all right with me if you want to start over.

Three: Yeah, it’s all right with me too. Be our guest. Start over.

One: All right, then. Apple!

* * *

One: What rhymes with decrepitude?

Two: That’s a tough one.

Three: How about ineptitude?

One: Close, but no cigar.

Two: Turpitude?

One: No, I don’t think turpitude really rhymes with decrepitude, though it does have a certain allure.

Three: Aptitude?

Two: Attitude?

One: No! No! No! It has to be four syllables. I just may have to settle for ineptitude.

Two: Why do you need a rhyme for decrepitude anyway?

One: Why do you think?I’m writing a song!

* * *

One: Hahahahaha!

Two: What are you laughing at?

One: The futility of it all.

Two: You find futility funny?

One: I do, as a matter of fact.

Three: I find futility tragic.

Two: Me too. I lean toward tragic when it comes to futility.

One: That’s pretty funny.

Three: What’s that?

One: The fact that the two of you find futility tragic.

Two: You find that funny?

One: I certainly do.

Two: That’s pretty sick.

One: Sick?

Two: Yes.It’s bad enough that you find futility funny, but finding it funny that the two of us find futility tragic is really sick.

Three: I don’t know if I’d call it sick, but it’s certainly infuriating.

One: I don’t know what’s more hilarious: the fact that you find my finding the two of you finding that futility is tragic is funny is infuriating or the fact that the other one considers my finding the two of you finding futility tragic to be funny to be sick.  Futility itself hardly seems funny in comparison.

Three: I give up. Trying to communicate with you is an exercise in futility.

Two: You can say that again.

One: Hahahaha!

* * *

One: I had a strange dream.

Two & Three: Tell us about it.

One: You were both in it. But the two of you were reversed.

Two: What do you mean reversed?

One: What do you think I mean? Each of you was the other.

Three: How could you tell?

Two: Yeah, if each of us was the other, why didn’t you just think we were each our original selves?

One: I just knew.

Three: What do you mean you knew?

One: I knew.Plain and simple.That’s how dreams work. They don’t conform to waking logic.

Two: But how do you know I’m me now?

Three: And how can you be sure that I’m me?

One: Because I’m awake.

Two: How do you know you’re awake?

Three: Yeah, how can you be sure?

One: Because, unlike dreams, waking life is utterly predictable.

* * *

One: I slept very poorly last night.

Two: Was something weighing on your mind?

One: Nothing out of the ordinary.

Three: Did you have trouble falling asleep?

One: No, it wasn’t that.

Two: Did you wake up a lot?

One: No, I slept right through.

Two: Did you wake up early?

One: No, I got up at the usual time.

Two& Three: So what do you mean you slept poorly?

One: Oh, I don’t know.  I’m probably just being overly self-critical.

* * *

One: Ouch!

Two & Three: What happened?

One: I stubbed my toe.

Two: If you wearing shoes this wouldn’t have happened.

One: Thanks for the breaking news.

Three: Shoes with steel reinforced toes would have been even better.

Two: Yeah.A brick could fall on you and you wouldn’t notice a thing.

Three: Well, you’d probably notice the brick.Unless you were blind, or totally out of it.

Two: Sure you’d notice it, but it wouldn’t hurt is what I’m trying to say.

Three: That’s why I suggested steel-reinforced toes in the first place.

Two: That would have been best, of course, but any shoes would have been better than nothing.

Three: Hey, you’re not wearing any shoes.

Two: Hey, neither are you.

Two & Three: Let’s get out of here!

* * *

One: Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind…

Two: Why are you singing that?

One: In celebration of the new year.

Three: But new year’s was over a month ago.

One: I know, but I completely forgot to sing it then.

Two: You can’t sing Auld Lang Syne after the fact. You missed your chance. Now you have to wait until next the next New Year’s Eve.

Three: Yeah, who ever heard of retroactive Auld Lang Syne?

One: Is there some kind of law that says I can only sing Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve?

Three: Just the law of common decency.

One: Who am I offending?

Two: It’s not so much a matter of offending anybody. It’s that you’re upsetting the natural order of the universe.

One: The natural order of the universe!Are you serious? New Year’s Eve is a man-made construct. Different cultures celebrate the new year at different times.

Two: And we’d expect them to sing Auld Lang Syne at the appropriate time.

One: Do the Chinese sing Auld Lang Syne?

Two: I don’t know.

Three: I’ve never thought about it.

Two & Three: We’ll check on it and get back to you.

* * *

Two: Vote for me!

Three: Vote for me!

One: Are you two running against each other?

Three: Yes.And I want you to vote for me.

One: Why should I vote for you?

Three: You know me.You know what I stand for. Don’t you think I’d be an effective leader?

One: Hardly.

Two: Then vote for me!

One: You?  What do you have to offer?

Two: You’ve known me for years. You know my beliefs.You know my accomplishments.  Don’t you think I’d be the best person for the job?

One: Not in the least.

Two & Three: Then what are you going to do?

One: Run as an independent.

 * * *

One:  I lost my watch.

Two: What time is it?

One: I knew you’d ask that!

Three: Five-ten.

One: Sure, rub it in.

Two: A.M or P.M.?

One: Ha!  Even I know the answer to that one.

* * *

One: Time flies when you’re having fun.

Two: Are you having fun?

One: I rarely have fun.

Two: So time rarely flies?

One: It’s probably better that way.  If I had fun all the time I’d never be aware that time was flying.

Two: So you think it’s better not to have fun?

One: No, but I think it would better for time to fly when I wasn’t having fun.

Two: Then you wouldn’t have any incentive to have fun.

One:  I’m not sure I know what fun is anyway.

Two: Do you know what time is?

One: Come to think of it, I’m not so sure about that either.

Three: Time and fun are both slippery concepts, and they’re only tenuously related. Time flying when you’re having fun is really incidental to the experience of fun itself. You’re making too much of the time-fun connection.

One: So it’s possible to have fun without time flying?

Three: I should think so.

One: So maybe I’m having fun more than I suspect.

Three:  Highly likely.

One:  Maybe even this is fun.

Two & Three: Highly unlikely!

* * *

One:  I am an individual. Can either of you say that?

Two and Three: I am an individual.

One:  Gotcha!