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Sunday, March 30, 2014

I Interview A Non-Existent Man



This was supposed to be a Sunday Sermon but I didn't start early enough. I dillydallied and reflected on the time --35 years ago-- I had to climb a flight of steps to the high pulpit of the First Baptist Church and read a poem at a dear friend's wedding. This experience combined glossophobia (stage fright) with acrophobia (fear of heights) and, although I managed the assignment, I discovered a third disinclination, kamia-kathari-kirygma-phobia (fear of preaching without a net). So now I'm resigned to sitting solidly on a steel chair and interviewing the person I never became, who is sitting in the other one.

I:  So, what do you believe is the main difference between us?

He: Beyond the fact that you exist and I don't?

I:  Yes, since you are...what is the polite term?

He: Commentitious. But since we are, in broad terms, each other I would not be offended if you called me imaginary.

I:  And yet, we share a great deal of early background.

He: Yes! In fact, if you were as crazy as your siblings and childhood friends said you were, you would have led a more interesting life.

I:  But they were wrong, or at least pleasantly incorrect...mainly.

He: Well of course, but you see most people are. Consider the reception and distortion of this quote from the candidate's debate some time back:
I:  I see, a fellow makes a perfectly coherent statement and it is coined into absurdity. Does that happen to you?

He: No, because one might with some effort imagine an absurdity. I am imaginary, therefore already an assembly of all possibilities. I cannot be undone by public misconstruction. We did not vote for Romney. You, however, did not become a minister because of Andre Malreaux, who wrote: "Neither the believer nor the atheist is completely satisfied with appearances."

I:  True, I found myself incapable of the leap of faith required in either direction. But as I gain in years, I admit there would be some comfort in life after death.

He: I know, I know. I am, after all, you. So forgive me my philosophical reminder that if there is life after death, we have not adequately defined either state.

I: A classifiable enigma, then.

He: Indeed. However, as your commentitious self, your imaginary self, I have made great successes in the clergy, in arts and sciences, in all human endeavors and can reduce our discussion to this: what did you become, Geo.?

I:  That's simple. I became a gardener, like I always do.

He: Me too, Geo. Me too.

22 comments:

  1. Becoming a gardener is a fine achievement - for both of you. Or do I mean all of you? I don't want to be exclusionary...

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    1. Thanks E.C., but imaginary Geo. always finds some excuse to make me do the heavy work. I doubt he's nervous about exclusionary terms.

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  2. Once again, you have proven that conversations with imaginary persons generate much more logic than those with real ones. Especially if the imaginary person happens to be yourself.

    I definitely have acrophobia and glossophobia, which would have prevented me from reading a poem on a pulpit. I applaud you for your heroic effort.

    I also have sealevelpoeticalphobia, which is a fear of reading poetry on solid ground.

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    1. I did consider enrolling in seminary in 1970 but Norma said, "Je ne vais pas être la femme d'un pasteur!", and that was an end to it. Wise lady!

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  3. Entertaining, but with some food for thought. Thanks Geo.

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    1. Kind Tom, my erratic mental gestures are not always so generously identified.

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  4. Wow...at least my imaginary people don't talk back.

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  5. Perhaps your other self exists in a different multiverse.

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    1. A manifold plenum in which all possibilities exist, yes --that is his postal address!

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  6. Reminds me of when Clint Eastwood interviewed the empty chair at the 2012 RNC LOL

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    1. Yes, but in my case it was often the other way around.

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  7. Well done, interview 'Non existent Man'
    I liked it and I loved gardening!
    Smiles

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    1. Ah, but I am the gardener who exists and rejoices in a world with smiles like yours in it!

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  8. Talking to oneself is so satisfying. I do it often, and even if I argue with said self, we still remain friends.

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    1. That, we share in common, so I trust your said self and my said self shall also remain friends.

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  9. I was just thinking today about how many people who do not subscribe to the idea of hell are smitten nonetheless with the idea of "heaven" or something at least "after", but if hell does not exist, then can heaven? There's something. I can wait to find out what it is.

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    1. Good question! I would defer to Mark Twain: "Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company."

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  10. Dear Geo,
    'Imaginary friends' - interesting! Especially if they are so wise as yours. And he seems to be gentle.
    I once had photographs of Dorothy Sayers and Gertrude Jekyll on my desk, and if I had a problem, I discussed it with these two wonderful no-nonsense women. ("They're coming to take me away, haha" -- remember that song?) And our family had three very lively, hilarious 'friends' which accompanied our (only) son through some very young years (though a friend of his almost 'lived' in our house - it was a form of vibrant imagination, not the result of loneliness).
    I have to add: Women - the ones in Romney's "binders" (is it really what I got in the dictionary?) are also seldom completely satisfied with their appearances :-)

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    1. My dear Brigitta, yes the imaginary conversations you describe with people of such strong, well-organized intellect can be most effective in resolving issues. As to the hapless Romney, he might have had more success saying, 'Dossiers on prospective female cabinet members', but instead uttered "binders full of women" --which sounds like a Salvador Dali title.

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  11. I have just visited your garden through the medium of poetry. Both of you are in the right place, I feel sure of it. And I definitely prefer a garden to a binder :-)

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. Gardens are far less confining --not so easily organized as binders but really more sensible.

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