Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: Physicians do no harm. What do you do?

“I lived in this beautiful glass ignorance, that allowed in the shining light of humor, but kept comedians out. It was a cathedral of not getting the point. I think I was reading Terry Pratchett when the first crack ran down the first wall, but realization made them spread quickly, and in poured a torrent of bile and cynicism. All those years I’d never known the glass walls sheltered an Atlantis under a sea of hate. I treaded in realizations that Mark Twain and Douglas Adams had really hated a great deal of the things they’d mocked, and that hateless writers had hate filled in by others. I remember one splash in the face from a journalist explaining Garrison Keilor’s ‘all the children are above average’ was a criticism of child self-esteem propaganda. And I earnestly mean I was drowning. I could feel my psyche lose its breath – lose the very ability to inspire, as Jonathan Swift once pointed out in one of the few times he wasn’t hating anybody. For all those years the glass cathedral had protected me under an ocean of nastiness, of hate for my fellow man and his every occupation, from prayer to napalm to car commercials, inculcating a belief that everyone should be at ease with everything and ought to express it through general humor. At the center, on the top floor of this glass palace was a cherished table where all friends would sit, true friends amongst whom no difference created spite, and all was mediated by tolerance and the love found in laughter. I’d never thought these satirists hated half of what they lampooned, and that they could never sit at this table. Beyond the walls of the cathedral, they merely looked like they were easing the world to place of amiable tolerance in which real scorn was unnecessary. To realize that so many things in books and stand-up albums weren’t jokes between friends I’d taken them as, but were supposed to be coercive… I could barely bring myself to joke anymore. It gave laughter a pathetic dimension that I’d never wish on anyone, let alone my favorite pastime. However, the belief was not drowned. It merely became a little soggy.”

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