Considering the progression of mortal occurrences (sounds almost like “When in the course of human events”; doesn’t it?) whether men find themselves unctuous or brash, timorous or resolute, supercilious or unassuming, we must put to labor the concept of introspection; both singularly and collectively.
Human nature can create abundant imposters during the work of introspection. We, therefore, are required to create the antithesis of these imposters through the use of analogy, allegory, fantasy, symbology, and above all, mimesis (which in this case skirts dangerously close to plagiarism).
Hence, I introduce a moose, a false stoic, a sexless being, a fish, a few semi-normal humans, a beaver, and other assorted and unbelievable characters. But (and this is a big but) they complete the task with aplomb, poise, assurance, self-confidence, equanimity, imperturbability and several other words found on a single page of Doubleday’s 1977 thesaurus.
Papa, Oh Papa, repeat the story true,
Of machines that rotate, spin and hew,
Steel and oil that are smoking too,
With flying hot chips that turn the air blue.
My little ones inquisitive and naïve,
Imagine machines that rip and cleave,
All day, all night, till All Hollows Eve,
These automatons died, but do not bereave.
Papa, Oh Papa, tell us the story so bright,
Of electron tubes and adders with might,
That calculate hexadecimaly, byte-by-byte,
With every answer accurate and right.
The priests of programming donned their blue robes,
Then waved rubber chickens, lizards and toads,
To magically devise queer algorithms and modes,
For predicting profits, elections, various codes.
Papa, Oh Papa, tell us the story so sad,
Of the executive who was very very bad,
Was his ineptness almost the sign of a cad,
Did he not accept blame, not even a tad?
Prima, you know the story so well,
Secunda, you blow the story up swell,
Tertia, if only you could just tell,
The tale to yourselves, while I rest in the dell.
“Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do; once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and of what is the use of a book’ thought Alice ‘without pictures or conversation’”
Alex played with his friends on the riverbank. When he was younger all they would do was fish (curiously, all they would do when they became adults was to fish). For now this riverbank was used for larger adventures; camping on the abandoned canal path, building rafts whose lifetime was three hours (maximum), catching snakes while hoping that no girls would invade their domain (yet hoping to see a girl that they could scare with said snakes).
When Alex was very young he would create walking adventures. These would make his mother frightful. He would leave unexpectedly and be gone for long periods of time. These were Alex’s self-described “long-shortcuts.” No one but Alex knew what a long-shortcuts were. They were long walks that Alex used as short cuts for observing the increments of life. Most were as simple as a trip to the local grocery store. Alex saw the owner cutting meat, wrapping it in paper and tying it up with a string.
Alex mentally recorded the precision and care with which the meat was butchered , the magnificent air-born contraption that held the string and let the butcher take what he wanted without getting tangled. That endless roll of paper, so handy at the end of the cutting table. Oh that table, what a wonderful piece of work! Composed of hundreds of pieces of wood all fastened together in a thick block and supported by equally thick legs.
Also there was the long-shortcut to the foundry. His little eyes spying through the window. Alex was not allowed inside but he could see the furnace that reached through the roof. When the man opened the furnace door Alex could feel the heat right through the window. The red hot iron flowed down a trough and into piglet shaped forms. The men (filthy from the grimy work) moved the piglets with long tongs. The sweat ran down their bodies and left clean streaks where the dirt had settled on them.
Even when sitting at home Alex would take long-shortcuts. These were mental trips to imaginary work shops that created things. The genesis of these excursions was the wonderment of the ornate trims around the doorways and windows of his parent’s home, the banisters of the staircase, the detailed cast iron stove in the kitchen, the bright green porcelain that decorated the stove and finally (if not fearfully) the giant octopus whose tentacles reached from the cellar to heat every room in the house. And, of course, the coal gas that treated the entire family to a terrible headache at least once per year.
Alex did not imagine all of these workshops correctly but he did get the majority of them right. And why wouldn’t he? For Alex had all sorts of workshops in his neighborhood; a shoe factory, a golf ball factory, a candy factory, an electrical generating plant (that exploded every other year), a farmer’s field, a cobbler that repaired shoes, a local auto mechanic that worked in his own driveway, an iron trestle (with five very tall piers) that carried the trains to New York, Scranton and Buffalo, a smoke belching railroad engine whose engineer tooted every time Alex waved at him, and even a factory that made felt in large swirling baths.
It was a wonderland
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