Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: If knowledge is power, then someone define “power,” OR, I felt a lot less clever when I found Plato beat me to this

It’s Word Time again in my head. Today’s word is “know.” I don’t know what it means. Can I say that? It’s using the word to define itself (or to admit that I can’t define it). I know “think” and “believe” and “conclude” and “experience” and “remember.” Not “know.” I could say that I know there is a pair of scissors on my desk. I remember them being there, and when I look, they are there. So did I know? When did I know it? What if I looked and they weren’t there? I put them down ten minutes ago. I don’t know where they’d go if they weren’t there – but they wouldn’t be there. If I put them down on my desk ten minutes ago, then typed this, saying I knew there was a pair of scissors on my desk only to find they weren’t there, did I know? No. In that case I believed them to be there, but they weren’t. In the traditional case of knowledge, to “know” would mean I believed them to be there and they were there. But in both cases there was a point when I wasn’t directly observing and I said they were there – in one case they were, and in one case they weren’t. I was just as certain in both cases, before the fact was checked. So my mental state was identical; being wrong was a physical condition. Then knowledge might not be a physical state. Is “knowing” only believing something that happens to be true? What a weird bridge to build across subjectivity and objectivity.

You could memorize facts – memorize a whole manuscript, word for word, sentence for sentence, paragraph for paragraph. You could think you know the story. You could believe you knew it. And then the author could change it. If she added just one word, suddenly you wouldn’t know her book. Your information would be invalid. But you would think you knew. And this happens all the time.

Many teenage couples think they’ll be in love forever. Maybe one of them will be. Let’s say all the others don’t make it past fifteen years. They think they know they will, and then it turns out they didn’t. They didn’t really know. But what about that one couple? Did those two 14-year-olds know, even though there was no possible way of observing the ends of their claim until it happened? They believed it, and then it was true.

People claim to know things based on favorable probability all the time. If they’d had culture, the dinosaurs probably would have known that no meteor would take them all out – except if a meteor did, which we can’t be sure of, though some scientists say they know. Others say they know it was disease.

And what about all the things you’re supposed to know? You know you did your best. You know you love your kids more than anything in the world. Do you believe these things as they are said? Will you keep believing them? Are they true, will they be true, and how long will they remain true? Forever? I don’t know where my scissors went, so knowing about anything as long as “forever” seems rather silly to me. Maybe “to know” is a joke – something else’s idea of a joke. We make jokes to make each other laugh. What’s laughing at us for making us think we know?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Bathroom Monologues: Possible Headstone Inscriptions

-“Cobras aren’t poisonous, right?”
-“Third base.”
-“Never buy your brakes and your headstone from the same person.”
-“Do Not Disturb.”
-“Best 2 out of 3?”
-“He will be missed (unfortunately too late; if only he’d been missed by that bus)”
-“Based on a True Story.”

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Nobody Has Ever Had It Worse

Adina finally began to wind down her rant with, “So Michael dumped me for an Israeli girl. Maybe they’ll move off to the Promised Land together. Now that it’s out, I’ll never make branch manager. You can see it in the way the higher ups look at me. It’s like they’re punishing me for not being Jewish enough.”

The shade of her ancestor nodded and stroked his long beard.

“Yes, the life of a heretic is hard.”

“Did they mistreat you like this when you were alive, Eliyahu?”

“No, no.” The shade shook his head. “They flayed me and set me on fire in the town square, but nothing this bad, bubala.”

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

"Something died inside me that day." –Hundreds of people on TV at various times

How come something is never resurrected inside you "that day?" How come nothing ever sits up in the casket, scares the priest so bad that he wets himself, and does a jig when it realizes how many people came to the funeral? How come a radioactive meteor never reanimates that something which just as it’s died, causing it to forever roam your body and eat the flesh of its own kind? I'd much rather something turn into a zombie than die in me, if only for the variety.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Do they play for the same team as us, or are they competition?

Lesbianism astounds men in a way that can only be expressed by analogy. To them it is like seeing one of the electric outlets try to plug itself into another. Men wanted to plug an extension cord in there. It makes them feel that either the outlet is defective, or they are. The analogy falls apart, though, when thousands of men pay $19.95 for a softcore video of the two outlets.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Love, Loathing and Odds

“Fine!” exclaimed the God of Love. “We’ll settle this universe on fair chance. Do you want evens or odds?”

“I always want odds,” said the hunk of eyeballs that served at the God of Loathing’s avatar. It would have rubbed its hands together in evil glee if it had them in the first place.

The God of Love held the dice up in his glowing palm.

“Odds and you get to end this universe however you like. But if it’s even, it gets a fair chance. Agreed?”

The hunk of eyeballs nodded.

“Agreed. To chance!”

“To chance,” echoed the God of Love, and he rolled.

“We’ll see about that,” muttered the God of Dice.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Bathroom Monologues: Re:

Laughed in pain's face. A lot.

Bathroom Monologue: Did you get good marks?

At that point in the country’s history to be unscarred was to either be a child or of the royal class. Medicine and hygiene were so primitive that any injury, even the every day abrasions of work, left permanent marks. Only someone who never performed manual labor was scarless. It wasn’t until Prince Gungriel burned himself (he just had to light one of the fireworks at the festival) and went about a campaign of vanity that imperfection became an acceptable part of aesthetics. In a disturbing trend created by the royals, scarification became an art style, with specific designs like tattoos. This marked the first major break between royal fashion and commoner fashion, as commoners began to respect simpler scars, ones that looked like they came from labor, more than those of art. The royals scoffed at the shallowness of the commoners. Famous cultural critic Mardeiger said this couldn’t be shallow, as, “if it were too shallow, it wouldn’t have left much of a mark.”
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