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The Sunday Tunnel: Mother Makes a Cake

[Continues from here.]

“Early in life, I learned to fear my birthday. Later, Christmas would follow close behind in the measured amount of my dislike. Finally, every holiday, even the Fourth of July, my former favorite, would fill me with apprehension. But it was the onset of my birthday which made my palms sweat.” (ibid., p. 604).

This is a day for me where (when?) I am off; like: milk off, like: not turned on. This is the day I should need to quote from the best piece of prose I ever read. Luckily I am off: it spares me the frustration of not being able to do justice to what has to be quoted, so allowing me to cover my disability with inability. Read it, few friends, and weep because it is all that is wrong about the world and it also has the essence of what is good about this world. Charity as in hypocritical keeping up appearances and the Gricean principle of charity trying, even if flat-out failing, to understand.

This is not it but it is something which is neither false nor falsch:

“Gift giving! golly gee! It proves how much affection can be purchased with a chocolate bunny, or a bra with nipple peeps, a fake-fur coat, clean used-once used car.

Okay. How much? Never enough.” (ibid., p. 606)

What I wanted to quote was before and after but I’ll be damned if I reproduce every sound – certainly when I am doomed to put in dissonant on dissonant. Just know: this is where I came and after this there was just the panting that comes after the deed is done and the kerchief filled with the kind of sticky that, stuck in textile, you love to rub to make it gel.

“Some things are amazing. Without lifting a finger, you can be born a Protestant.

It never happened to me. I was spared. But I have read books. I have been to the movies. Birthdays, like weddings, anniversaries, baptisms, bar mitzvahs, wakes are occasions to retie family ties, renew family feuds, restore family feeling, add to family lore, tribalize the psyche, generate guilt, exercise power, wave a foreign flag, talk in tongues, exchange lies, remember dates and the old days, to be fond of how it was, be angry at what it should be, and weep at why it isn’t.

All this is frosting. Let’s get to the filling.” (ibid., p. 607)

We have it ass backwards. We are made to live for occasions and, occasionally, we live. When the latter happens, there is the former to mess it up. We have it all ass backwards. We think we’re invented under logic whilst logic is in fact invented by us. We believe that what is necessary must have been there before us whilst the only thing fundamentally necessary is that we are there to label things necessary. And, as we nitwits didn’t discover not nearly half of it yet, we make up these occasions celebrating … yeah, what? Anything not to have to deal with the future.

“I pretended to believe and they pretended to believe me. It is the paradigm of successful human relations.

Okay. That’s the first layer. Now for some pudding.” (ibid., p. 609)

What can I say? A whole empire of capital has been built on networking make-believe. It makes you hope it all is a sham; if only to be able to expose the leaders of the gang and have them spend the infinity they invented listening to their talk of theory and to the gossip they invent to ensure nobody listens to us. US! Plain Old Temporary Suckers who think they are not here for something grand, who spell mistery with an ‘i’ (knowingly, because fluent in German amongst other things).

Occasions to display good intentions are however non-intentional displays of occasional goodness. The spirit just can’t be drawn out if it, not even by calling spirits into play.

“My balloon had burst, yes, but in nobody’s face, so I should not try or tempt fate and expect to escape every oncoming commemoration as easily. Instead, I should spend life standing still, and exhale slowly only out a window in a wind. Then nothing might inflate. Nothing break.” (ibid.,p. 614)

One page after this it ends. The principle of charity has been killed, charitable people will henceforward rule the world of ritual charity. The world of tough love. The negation of charity’s principles because charity aims just at an understanding which is denied in favor of support, help and ultimately always the love which is tough enough to do the necessary which is naught else than what happens to be the easiest. Who can spare a couple of bucks? Anything to avoid the risk of taxes – “Fuck if I’ll share responsibility. They can have my shitty uneducated time; that’s at least worthless to me too.”

“So I was defaulted into the duty, though I threw my own tantrum, a doomed and futile gesture, because there was nary a friend, by this time, to call on, nor a relative nearby whose help might be enlisted, hence I had to be the goat – Benedict Iscariot, the duplicitous double agent. The feeling became useful later when I tried to understand the ambivalent emotions of those who fingered friends to punitive authorities and gave up loved ones to their fate.” (ibid., p. 619)

So the principle of charity survives even if we are still stupid enough to let the bastard network rule. Stupid enough to let these bastards persecute us whilst we are alive (with their occasions, their nitpicking about dress & spelling). Even stupid enough to let them haunt us as we are finally ready to die (persecute those few loving us into feeling the need to keep us beyond the time when there is still something that can be called ‘us’).

I don’t know whether this was better or worse as the foregoing. I know it wasn’t good.

At least next week it ends on some post-auto-coital self-congratulation.

Then the dog won’t have ears anymore until another baby is born.

[Continues (and ends) here.]


April 6, 2013 - Posted by | Sunday Stories | , ,


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