Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Four Days in the Life of Adamillo

One day, feeling that he wasn't receiving the respect he deserved at home — and feeling isolated from the fraternity of higher learning that he considered his natural natural environment (even more so than a desert) — Adamillo went for a walk to the University. Of course, since he is tiny, this took him almost twenty-four hours. But at last he arrived at the University Library and checked out a book of Ezra Pound's essays. He read it showily on the immaculate lawns of the College.

He was gratified by the attention of two real-life University Students, who seemed to Adamillo both stylish and wise. He hoped more than anything that they would walk up to him, engage him in a discussion about Pound, and offer him some of their peanuts. But of course their only interest was in the spectacle of a tiny stuffed armadillo pretending to read a book that was in fact placed upside down.

Depressed by his failure to make either friends or sense of the essays, he decided to drown his sorrows in iced coffee and deep fry them in batter. His first stop was Tim Horton's.

For only a few dollars, he purchased a delicious drink that was, in volume, six times his size. He drank as much of it as he could and found it delicious. Then he crossed the street to Chippy's.

He asked for their Armadillo-Sized Lunch Special, but the fellow behind the counter with the artfully arranged black hair and nose ring informed Adamillo that there was no such special. So he ordered what was available, the Lunch Special, and asked for an Armadillo-Sized Cup to eat it from. This they provided.

Already full from his Iced Cappuccino, he was worried that he wouldn't be able to finish even this small fragment of the larger meal. In fact he was not.

Ill in body and spirit, he made his way very slowly home from Chippy's (it took nearly two days). When he arrived he found that he was feeling much better. He comforted himself by chewing on sticks (his favourite activity) and also on the straw wrapper from his Iced Cappuccino, which he had saved.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fish Six-Pack

To appease readers disappointed with my post on The Bachelor, I offer the following work of original art. It is the first in a triptych depicting animals in difficult situations. Here, in my most political work to date, I show six fish caught in a plastic six-pack beer ring, which has been carelessly tossed unsnipped into the tropical sea.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Reading List for The Bachelor

Poor, stupid Jake Pavelka.

He certainly was in a brilliant position to begin with. A massive and enthusiastic harem; a moral carte-blanche from the American viewing public for the duration of the season; and the counterbalancing, conventionally reassuring knowledge that at the end of the lengthy tunnel of license (or, as repeatedly called it, his “awesome journey”) a loving wife would be waiting for him.

But then, after months of painstaking culls, what a terrible circumstance! After much sham-polygamy and faux-polyamory, he was confronted with a truly impossible decision. With Tenley and Vienna he had an almost perfect manifestation of the well-known “angel/whore dichotomy.” And, dichotomies being what they are, Jake—his carte-blanche suddenly turned a forbidding, unsexy, either/or shade of red—could not have both.

Why did he find himself in this tricky situation? Was it that the producers wanted an exciting finale, and told him to choose the most diametrically opposed contenders imaginable? Was it because, having spent the duration of the show doing whatever he wanted, he began to believe he could have his whore and angel too?

No. Jake Pavelka found himself in this difficult predicament because he had not read enough books, and as a result possessed a naïve understanding of human behaviour.

In a heart-rending and blubbery monologue, he told Tenley (I find I like her better when I call her “Tinsley”), “You’re incredible. You’re perfect. You’re so good. I’ve never met anyone like you. But I put you on a pedestal, and when I’m with you it all feels a bit forced.” Things didn’t feel natural with the angel. But with the whore Jake felt he could be himself. As a result he decided to marry her.

If only you had read Proust, you benighted pilot! From him you would have learned that there are no angels and no whores in this world—that there is no “self” at all, in fact, but rather a complex agglomeration of selves: numerous angels and whores of various degrees within each of us, which roles we perform as the occasion suits—what Proust calls “les moi en moi.” (You might have learned this for any number of other novels as well. Anna Karenina springs to mind as an example of a novel in which a too-constricted sense of the range of personal identities leads to catastrophic consequences.)

You ought also to have read Milton’s Paradise Lost. Satan, who would surely appeal to you on many other grounds—for you were, temporarily, “beyond good and evil”—has the following sagacious advice for you. In the very first book of Milton’s epic, Satan says to his followers,
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven. 
The pedestal on which you tragically placed Tenley, in other words, was your own creation. To quote Milton’s disciple Blake, the “manacle” in which you found yourself caught was in fact “mind forg’d.” Tenley was no simple angel, as anyone not distractedly slobbering over the revolting Vienna would no doubt have noticed. She was even much prettier than the other—which is why she was so confused when you told her you found her physically unattractive. But you, Jake Pavelka—you poorly-read simpleton and cliché-loving oaf—misread the situation as a stereotypical dichotomy of the crudest sort. And picked the wrong side of it to boot!

And people say that literature is useless!