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Nearly Relevant
Nonsense, Fiction, and Miscellaneous Things

Weird . . .
     Lately, I've seen many people on the news who answer questions by beginning with the word 'So'.  They do it so often - is that the reason - I'm starting to think it's a conspiracy to which I'm not privy.

Q:  What is important to you?
A:  So, . . . I think life and money are important.

Q:  What's your opinion of [Insert topic]?
A:   So, . . . [Topic] is difficult.

Q:  Where did you buy the milk?
A:  So, . . . I went to the store and bought it.

Q:  What time is it?
A:  So, . . . it's 3:15 pm.
"I'm building a New Hope." said the lead contractor.  " Set up the scaffolding and bring some wooden planks."

"Yes boss. What size of planks boss? 2 x 4 or  4 x 2?"

"2 x 4.  I'm building a New Hope.  If I were building a New Tyranny then I'd need 4 x 2."

" . . . a million dollars!"

"That's correct.  Congratulations, glad I could help.  NEXT!"

I walk onto the  stage over to the table at which I and the appraiser will sit.  "Hello." I say.

"Please, sit down." he replies. 

I pull the chair out to allow myself to sit down and then I sit down.

"You are?"


 Welcome 'G'.  What have we got here?" 

"Well, it's an antique  - we're hoping .  Ha, ha!!"   I laugh inappropriately and accidentally drool on to the table at the thought that the antique might be worth millions of dollars.   "Oh, excuse me." I say.  I effect a simulacrum of composure.

"That's perfectly alright.  I've seen bigger puddles of drool.  Go on." 

"Well, it's an old kerosene lamp.    It's got some rust on it . . . obviously.  The glass which encompasses the wick is hazy with age and has some scratches.  We think it dates to about the 1950's or 40's.  It came from an attic of an old house."

 "Well, it certainly is interesting.  The rust would give it some character which many investors and collectors appreciate, so I don't think you lose any value on that score.  How long have you been in possession of it?" 

" About 10 or 15 years."

"Well 'G' I'm glad to inform you that for 10 or 15 years you've been quite rich."

"You're kidding!" I say.

 "No sir, I'm not kidding.  What you have there is a 1919 Rogers Hornsby baseball trading card valued at 1.2 million dollars."  The appraiser smiles and let's the emotion of the moment speak for itself.

"I can't  believe it.  I was hoping it would be worth something, but  THAT MUCH . . . I'm flabbergasted!  Hesitantly, I say,  "But It does look like an old kerosene lamp . .  doesn't it?"

" Well, yes it does, but I've been an appraiser for about fifty years and I can tell you that what you've got there is a  trading card of the baseball player
Rogers Hornsby,  worth about 1.7 million dollars." 

"1.7 million dollars?  I thought you said 1.2 million?"

"Not a minute goes by in which these things don't increase in value."

"I can hardly believe it."

"Well, congratulations young man.  Glad I could help.  NEXT!"

"If you'll please keep your eye on the beaker to the right.  I am now going . . ."

"No! . . . There is no beaker to the right.  This is a blogpost not a chemical experiment."

"Ma'am, if there is no beaker to the right, then into what am I supposed to pour this chemical solution?"

"I don't care what you pour it into.  There is no beaker to the right.  This is stupid."

"I beg to differ ma'am but I am holding here a test tube containing a chemical solution and off to the right is a beaker into which I intend to  . . . carefully . . . pour this solution."

"There is neither a solution nor any beaker.  There is a table of some kind on which you're typing this nonsense and who knows what, . . . probably a window or wall to the right.  This is ridiculous!"

I pause and survey the area around me.  "Well, it appears you are correct ma'am.  Folks, if you'll please take a break of  . . .oh . . . about 15 minutes, I'll get the experiment set up and we can
then continue."

"There will be no experiment, you're an idiot!" says the lady.

"Ma'am You're going to have to calm down.  I can no longer tolerate you're certainty regarding the matter."

She faints. 

"G,  Phil Tomlinson Homeland Security."

"Nice to meet you Mr. Tomlinson.  How can I help you?"

That was quite an impressive handling of what we might call . . . 'a can of worms'.  We would be honored to hire you."

Well. certainly, certainly.  I understand entirely.   If I could finish the experiment, then I can get right to work on this 'can of worms' of yours. 

"Excellent idea 'G'. "

The lady remains prone but raises her head and shoulders off the floor, directing an aside to the blog audience, "They're both idiots.", then, again, settles back into prone.

Phil faints.

I say, "I thought you said your name was Tomlinson, Phil Tomlinson?"

'Waiting for Godot', Samuel Beckett
      NOTE:  This is a review of the book, the Grove Press publication, Waiting for Godot© by Samuel Beckett.  It is not a review of any stage, theater, or otherwise theatrical production or performance.

      Generally, in these reviews, I try not to give too much of the book's details.   That way I'm not giving away spoilers or otherwise ruining somebody's experience of reading the book for themselves.   But this book is sparse in characters, setting, themes so I can't help but feel that, while mentioning little, it is still mentioning too much.  So just to let you know ahead of time, you may find the review useful only if you've already read the book or you may want to read the book before reading this review as the review mentions more detailed aspects of themes than I usually do.
      The play is basically a metonymy.  The characters - caricatures may be more apt - represent modern mankind in the wake of man's historical 'progress'.  The play's accoutrements - boots, rope, etc - represent larger concepts to which the items are related. Boots represent mobility - particularly as related to progress - rope is a binding, representing the philosophical and social ineffectualities of civilization.  As such  the characters don't evoke much sympathy because they're representative of concepts and social constructs. That is not to say there is no pathos to the characters but rather that the pathos is sort of  'seen' and 'understood' but not so much felt or evoked.
     Man's state of existence is depicted as penurious.   Whether of material concerns, soulful vexation, or the contrariness between intellection and affectivity, paucity is the characters - and by representation mankind's - dilemma.  The penurious existence can be seen as the antagonist, the anti-hero. The protagonist and hero is , by default, by pure necessity, a reposeful engagement of the characters within this framework of destitution. It's in this reposeful engagement - a companionship of a somewhat higher order - that the characters receive redemption from the bankruptcy of the visionary.

VLADIMIR:  Will night never come?  [All three look at the sky]
POZZO:  You don't feel like going untill it does?
ESTRAGON:  Well, you see -
POZZO:  Why it's very natural, very natural.  I myself in your situation.  If I had an appointment with Godin . . . Godet . . . Godot anyhow you see who I mean, I'd wait till it was black night before I gave up.
[He looks at the stool]  I'd very much like to sit down but I don't quite know how to go about it.1

     This example of bathos is not uncharacteristic of the play.  The moment begins dolefully only to end in absurdity.  Vladimir's question is serious-minded yet not hopeless, as the night brings some relief.  Pozzo's response is of a similar attitude honestly wondering with some small amount of pointing out an illogic in Vladimir's question.  At this point Estragon seems to back away from the sober-mindedness.  Maybe Estragon is perplexed by Pozzo's good-natured response (i. e. a good-naturedness Estragon's not been used to receiving) or the discussion is becoming - in Estragon 's view - mandatory of affinities which he's not prepared to give.  In any event, the conversation takes a turn to the humorous with it's sarcastic miscalling of the name Godot, and then turns absurd as Pozzo doesn't know how to go about sitting down.  This is an amenity between characters structured by repose.
      If, alternatively, you read this segment as frightening because of it's melancholy leading to the unanswerable, the unanswerable leading to absurdity, then you may see a penurious existence concretized by a fall into absurdity.  Although this brokenness is inherent in the play I don't think of it as the message of the play.
     Thus, two somewhat opposing views can be emphasized, redemptiveness or destitution.
     It's difficult for me to ignore the bright-side, the redemptiveness.   The pauperism of material and spirit doesn't preclude a Godsend.  Estragon's and Vladimir's reposeful engagement is quite humane and enlivening.  At one point,Lucky's abjection is represented as a relief;  It's a relief from life's contradictions and the false assurances of intellection;  It's a relief from aspirations which, apparently, have always been dashed rather than manifest.  If Lucky's abjection can take on a context of relief why can't Estragon's and Vladimir's engagements  - reposeful and considerate - take on a context of redemption or salvation presaged by Lucky's relief?  This redemption may not be measurable on a standard scale but that lack only begs the question of man's progressiveness and understanding.   
      Paucity as not in and of itself being an unmitigated splotch on the record extends even to a meta of the play itself.  If you consider the frugality of the play, with its' few characters, over a limited 2 day period, with impedimenta of boots, various bags, rope etc. then - with some leap of extrapolation -  those aspects can equate to the characters'  less than hopeful circumstances.  In turn the play's acclaim can then be seen as  coincident with the redemption of the characters;  The redemption being found in their humane - albeit fractious, perplexed, embracing, as well as absurd - dealings with one another.
     The play speaks to just how lacking is the interpersonal in man's worldview and just how inflated and perplexing is a worldview relying on the conceptual, the visionary, the ideological.
     One last thing.  There is a soliloquy by the character Lucky which is quite discerning and humorous. It is kind of a satire of the scientific method were the scientific method taken to extremis.  The result is nonsensical, mocking, and downright funny as well as indisputably pertinent.  Here's a small part of the soliloquy:

LUCKY:  " . . . labors left unfinished crowned by the Acacacacademy of Anthropopopometry of Essy-in-Possy of Testew and Cunard it is established beyond all doubt . . . "2  Ha, ha!

1Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett ©1954, Grove Press, New York, N.Y., pg. 27
2Ibid, pg. 34

UPDATE:  8/31/14 - It has occured to me that if you replace 'Godot' in 'Waiting for Godot' with 'Godsend' - such that it would read 'Waiting for Godsend' - then you'd have a better idea of what the book is about.   There are metaphorical uses of 'Godsend' such that the idea of waiting for a godsend is, within the book, not solely of religious meaning.  For, example, Estragon and Vladimir's 'Godsend' might be a bag of money, that kind of thing.
     In other words 'Godot' is a personification of the  idea of 'Godsend'.

Single and Looking
"Ooooo!  Who farted?"

"I did.  You like it?"    

"You let that?"

"Of course, I did.  You like it . . . I feel certain?   Why wouldn't you? . . .  What am I; an idiot? . . .  I don't think so."

"Good Lord, I never smelled any thing so bad in all my life!!!!!!!!!!!"

"Of course you haven't. . . .  What am I; an idiot?  . . .ha, ha, . . .I don't think so!"

"Look! The mice;  They're coming out of the woodwork it smelled so bad!"

"Of course they are. . . . What are they idiots? . . .  I don't think so."

"Apparently you are an idiot!"

"Aha, ha, ha, ha!  Let me ask you, are you enjoying the conference?"

"Not exactly."

"Ha, ha!  I get it.  Well don't be too disturbed. I think I'm about done, plus, I'll be giving a presentation on rubber hats this afternoon."


"Yes, looking forward to it, are you?"


"Oh I don't mean ON rubber hats, like standing on a pile of them, oh certainly not.  I mean on the subject of rubber hats.  Ha, ha!  Sorry for the misunderstanding."

Sorry folks I can't even finish this ridiculous post  . . . Ha, ha,ha, aha . .
Paternal Excerpts

     "I teach you everything I know and you still don't know anything."

"You didn't read the instruction manual."

Contemporaneous Assessment of Paternal Excerpts

Claiming, facetiously, a lack of knowledge on his part, he could teach me everything he knew yet I still wouldn't know much of anything.
     By 'Instruction manual' is meant 'The Bible'.

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