Saturday, 23 February 2008

My First Chapter? Eaten by a Cylon, Thank You Very Much "Scott's Dissertation" is the name of a folder on my desktop. Has been for the past three years. When I migrated my files from my laptop, I copied "Scott's Dissertation" to the external hard drive (a.k.a.); then I copied it from the external hard drive (a.k.a.) to my my new desktop. I assumed my new "Scott's Dissertation" folder would contain all the files and folders housed in the old one. It doesn't. The "Chapter One - Introduction" folder is missing. It's not on the desktop. It's not on the external hard drive (a.k.a.). It's not on the laptop. I had no choice. The folder must've disappeared when I was migrating files. I had to consult the Cylon: What can I do you for? Remember that folder on the laptop with my first chapter in it? Yes. Any idea where it went? I ate it. You ate it? Did you need it for something? Hope not because I ate it. Why would you eat it? It was there so I ate it. And this was a good idea? Probably not. But it was there so I ate it. You would eat it too if it was there. I wouldn't. You would. Also: Bird. Bird? I look out my window and see the Cylon is correct. Atop my air conditioner sit two turtledoves. Their feathers are ruffled and they are looking directly at me. One cocks its head and charges. It pecks the window and looks to its left. The rails of my porch are obscured by a mob of irate turtledoves. You want to eat bird. No. You want to eat bird like I ate chapter. I don't. You lie. Turn in bird instead of chapter. I need chapters not birds. I can't turn in a bird. Why not? Advisers don't accept birds. They want chapters. Search committees don't consider birds. Jobs are not won on the strength of birds. I can't turn in a bird. Too bad. You go to war with the dissertation you have, not the dissertation you want.
Anonymity (Doffs, Tips a Macintosh) People disappear. They wake up Tuesday morning and decide it's better to be a no one somewhere else than some damn fool soul here. Happens all the time. You expect a familiar face and are greeted by a stranger with a story. "He moved to Michigan." "Michigan?" "To Dexter, I think. Not even a town. A village." "What's in Dexter?" "A village. He wanted to live in one." Who could blame him? The living in hamlets ain't easy. (Settlements neither.) No one with any sense plants roots in unincorporated municipalities anymore. Why not abscond to villages distant and remote? Why not abandon the inessential and reinvent yourself somewhere pleasant? The appeal's as obvious as it is compelling: no one appreciates the person rank circumstance created. Everyone thinks they could be more given a fair shake in honest environs. Only everyone is wrong. Some people are destined to fail spectacularly. Doesn't matter where they move to or who with, in two months their straits choke desperate. They disappear into and become the Man in the Macintosh. This they desire, to be anonymous and unknown, to flit from mourner to mourner without explaining anything to anyone. Tortuous anonymity is palpable from space. (Even in Michigan.) Like Joyce I wonder who it is who makes this מנין sing: Now who is that lankylooking galoot over there in the macintosh? Now who is he I'd like to know? Now, I'd give a trifle to know who he is. Always someone turns up you never dreamt of. A fellow could live on his lonesome all his life. Yes, he could. Still he'd have to get someone to sod him after he died though he could dig his own grave. We all do. Only man buries. No ants too. First thing strikes anybody. Bury the dead. Say Robinson Crusoe was true to life. Well then Friday buried him. Every Friday buries a Thursday if you come to look at it. We all come to look at it eventually. Then we die. (cue earnest horns)

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