The surprisingly delightful musings of a humble Virginian whose satiric paeons to a plausible utopia implicitly shame the cynical zeitgeist of our times, causing it to cry, as 'twere, 'Damn, what was I thinking?' or words to that effect.



Quass.com

April 2021

Minnie and Me

This Week: the meaning of life




ME: Oh, hi, Minnie. Take a little off the top, would you?

MINNIE: I beg your pardon, sir.

ME: Of my head, Minnie. You did come to give me a haircut, didn't you?

MINNIE: Oh, right you are, your worship. Shall I use a number one cutter or a number two?

ME: Surprise me, Minnie.

MINNIE: How about a number eight? We'd be done in a jiffy.

ME: And I'd be the laughing stock of Podunk. No, Minnie, the last time I checked, a number 8 blade cut an inch of hair at a time. And I've got an English lawn up top, Minnie, not a rainforest.

MINNIE: An English lawn, sir?

ME: It's the best metaphor I could come up with without my morning coffee. Speaking of which, where be my java, wench?

MINNIE: It's right in front of your eyes, your lordship.

ME: What, this? You call this coffee, Minnie?

MINNIE: Yes, I do, your lordship.

ME: OK, just checking. What with you coming from the 18th century, I thought you might have had another word for it.

MINNIE: No, we use the same word, derived from the Yemeni qahwah, I believe.

ME: Tut-tut, Minnie. You know you're violating your terms of employment every time that you sound smarter than me.

MINNIE: Oh, fie, your lordship.

ME: Fie, nothing, Minnie. It's right there in black-and-white. Me Tarzan, you an intellectually challenged Jane.

MINNIE: That's a brave thing to say when Jane's holding a number-two hair trimmer over your English lawn.

ME: Fair cop, Minnie. You shoot, you score.

MINNIE: Why thank you, your worship. I may be a wench, but I come from the sassy and knowing branch of that retrospectively pejorative categorization.

ME: I couldn't have said it better myself, Minnie.

MINNIE: Why, thank you, sir.

ME: In fact, I couldn't have said it at all. You know, that phrase, "retrospectively pejorative categorization" is quite a mouthful -- and a tongue twister to boot.

MINNIE: Excuse me, your worship, but isn't this the time that you unload with some philosophical observation wherewith to upbraid present-day society for its logical inconsistencies?

ME: You know you're right, Minnie. Permit me to unload, as you put it.

MINNIE: Permission granted... provided that you'll point your head downward for the nonce so that I can take a shot at these pesky bangs of yours.

ME: Quite.

MINNIE: Get it, your lordship? Take a, ahem, shot at your bangs?

ME: I think you'll find that your employment specs also peg you as the straight man in this relationship, Minnie, whilst I am tasked with the solemn responsibility of making people laugh.

MINNIE: Those specs sound like a good read. I'll put them on my library bucket list.

ME: Hey, that's all I'm asking, right? At the end of the day, as you Brits say.

MINNIE: But your philosophy, Your Lordship. You'll be as bald as a coot by the time you've enlightened us.

ME: Oh, yes. Well, I've been reflecting, Minnie.

MINNIE: That's hardly surprising, given the somewhat creepy overabundance of mirrors in this parlor of yours.

ME: I didn't hear that.

MINNIE: I said, that's hardly surprising, given the--

ME: OK, I lied: I DID hear that. But I found it distasteful in the extreme.

MINNIE: Head down just a touch.

ME: Almost as distasteful as this coffee.

MINNIE: Says the man over whom the sword of Damocles is metaphorically dangling in the form of barber's shears.

ME: I've been reflecting, I say, that the modern zeitgeist is all wrong.

MINNIE: How so, your lordship.

ME: Well, take Michio Kaku, for instance.

MINNIE: OK, consider him taken.

ME: He says that work is a thing of the past, or soon shall be?

MINNIE: Right.

ME: Whereas I say: look at all the sad obese Americans who are already stuck in front of their television sets with nothing to do.

MINNIE: Yeppers. Do hold still, your lordship. I'm having a go at this colic of yours.

ME: Sure, they can tell Siri to dim the lights, but they can't find a reason for living.

MINNIE: You shoot, you score, Herr Socrates.

ME: Remember, that de Beranger said, as quoted by Poe, of course: All of our trouble comes from our inability to be alone.

MINNIE: Meaning?

ME: Meaning that the enemy is within, Minnie, and never will be conquered by technology.

MINNIE: Gotcha. Ooh, fie on this colic!

ME: Bearing this in mind, one can imagine a far better utopia than a world ruled by robots and algorithms.

MINNIE: Like what, for instance. Please keep looking down.

ME: Like suppose that all plants were legal again.

MINNIE: Right?

ME: We could have shamans that teach us how to use plant medicine so that we can enjoy the natural world and enjoy working in it, growing much of our own food.

MINNIE: Ah, ye be a Luddite, then, Your Lordship? Do but hold still.

ME: No. Technology can make sure that no one starves, of course, and more power to it: but that doesn't mean that it's good for humans to vegetate indoors and become enemies of the outside world.

MINNIE: Gotcha.

ME: The ultimate good, I maintain, Minnie, is for human beings to be out in nature and enjoy it and learn from it and actually work in it with their own two God-given mitts, even if -- horror of horrors -- they need to use some shamanically supervised entheogens to accomplish that task.

MINNIE: Entheogens, my lord?

ME: You know: psychoactive plant substances that conduce to love and appreciation of the world around one.

MINNIE: You've got a point there -- and I don't mean this defiant colic of yours that positively will not stay down.

ME: Yes, technology used without philosophical reflection will lead to a world without work -- but that is no good for humanity.

MINNIE: Aye, but the drug warriors will be hating on your idea, dawg.

ME: Dawg, Minnie?

MINNIE: I mean, Your Lordship.

ME: That's 'cause drug warriors are insane: The rave scene in Britain was shut down by Drug Wars even tho' it brought together racial groups like never before? Why? Because Drug Warriors demonize substances rather than learning how to use them safely and for the psychological benefit of humanity.

MINNIE: Meaning? Meaning? Head down, I say.

ME: Meaning that it's idiotic to demonize substances that bring humanity together.

MINNIE: Aye, but surely technology--

ME: Technology is hardly a panacea. Consider Goldsboro, North Carolina and Damascus, Arkansas.

MINNIE: What about them?

ME: Both locations were nearly obliterated by a nuclear explosion caused by human carelessness.

MINNIE: Not good.

ME: Now there's an understatement.

MINNIE: Imagine North Carolina and the Midwest, not only obliterated but rendered uninhabitable for centuries.

ME: That's another result of technology, Minnie: we live with the sword of Damocles dangling over us -- and it's not a number-2 hair trimmer, either, Minnie -- and our only hope is that bungling army types will never make any more nuclear-related mistakes.

MINNIE: In other words, there's no hope whatsoever, other than that we remain perpetually lucky as a species going forward, ad infinitum.

ME: Whereas if we all could live with ourselves, contra De Beranger, and enjoy nature and working with the environment for our own sustenance and happiness...

MINNIE: Sounds like you're talking about the need for a new spirit for humanity...

ME: Aye, Minnie: A new spirit provided -- as necessary, mind -- by psychoactive plants, which have a long history of creating pious and nature-friendly thoughts.

MINNIE: Got it. Meanwhile, triple fie on this colic. And fie on this Michio Kaku of yours for wrongly thinking that work is somehow bad in and of itself. Which, I don't think so.

ME: Well--

MINNIE: Fie on this Michio. Fie on this Kaku!

ME: So let's all start seeing a world in a grain of sand a la Sandburg, and stop mimicking the sad-sack decadents of the 20th century, who asked, a la Camus, the ungrateful question: "Why should I not kill myself?"

The answer to Camus is not "Because Siri can do all your work for you."

The answer can only be: "Why not kill yourself? Because with shamanic counseling, you too can feel at one with nature and earn the exhilarating joy of being a productive part of the world around you -- not the world of TVs and sofas, but the world of wild blueberry bushes, forests and fields--

MINNIE: Nay, but you wax poetical, my lord.

ME: True dat, but I fear that I'm running out of wax, judging by that somewhat lopsided metaphor about the blueberry bushes.

MINNIE: We get your point, your Lordship, despite your attempts to gild the lily.

ME: You know what they say, Minnie, a word to the wise wench.

MINNIE: Oh, fie back at you, my good, sir. Speaking of points, however: hold still while I try a number eight on this recalcitrant colic of yours.

ME: I can live with the colic, wise guy.

MINNIE: Yes, but you can't live with yourself, right?

ME: Nor can most Americans, without the psychoactive aid of non-addictive nature, which unfortunately we Americans have dogmatically eschewed in the name of an unprecedented drug war...

MINNIE: True.

ME: A Drug War which is actually the enforcement of the religious precepts of Christian Science, by the way.

MINNIE: Word.

ME: Only to get hooked on technology and then dangerously conflate the ideas of convenience and efficiency with the idea of inner happiness.

MINNIE: Right.

ME: An inner happiness that expresses itself in compassion to others and a true interest in the world around one.

MINNIE: See? Now that's why I took this job: I told the agency, set me up with a man who knows what's what viz. the current screwy zeitgeist.

ME: And you found me.

MINNIE: True enough, your lordship, but there's no need to rub it in.

ME: Oh, sorry.

MINNIE: Unlike this hair gel of mine, which I recommend that you apply daily to keep down that satanic colic of yours.

ME: Oh, you!

MINNIE: And you too, your Lordship, with bells on.

ME: Do what?

MINNIE: You heard me: You too, your Lordship, with proper bells on!












Copyright 2017, Brian Quass quass@quass.com (follow on Twitter)