12/07/2010

Deconstructionist Christmas Parable

BOOK I
Chapter 1
I found Santa floating face-down in the cold water.

Chapter 2
I found Santa floating face-down in the cold water, again. He had been drowned in the darkest hour, just before dawn.

Chapter 3
It happens every morning, and Christmas is coming.

Chapter 4
My overweight, perpetually confused, crossed but brightly blue-eyed Siamese boy-cat does not appear, at first glance, to be a sociopath. In fact, he is timid and clumsy, and he flees at the slightest movement. Yet every morning before dawn, he drowns Santa Claus in his water bowl.

BOOK II
Chapter 1
Santa is Chester's favorite toy: an old cotton finger-puppet the size of a mouse.

Chapter 2
As I bow down sadly with a sigh to remove Santa from Chester's bowl at precisely 7 AM every day, I feel like Nietzsche.

Chapter 3
I wring Santa dry and lay him on the rug. Chester loves Santa. Once again the game is on, the game of paradox...

Chapter 4
... love and death, the gentle, the cruel, batting Santa Claus across the floor, tossing him in the air all morning, all afternoon. You might think a cat would realize, after walloping a limp mouse-sized body for hours, that its soul would not need dispatching. Yet in that hour when the whole world relishes the consolation of perfect oblivion, Chester silently and tenderly takes Santa in his teeth, steals to his water bowl, and drowns him.

BOOK III
Chapter 1
I found Santa floating face-down in the cold water. Eternal recurrence. Or maybe it's Camus I must reread, The Myth of Sisyphus. Some philosopher, any philosopher.

Chapter 2
As Christmas approaches and the nights grow longer, the national economy collapses, barbarians draw close to the gates of the empire, and the windows of human intercourse are closed by an invisible bureaucracy, I sense a parable here. Santa, floating face down. I feel like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, pointing at his pile of mashed potatoes and muttering, "This means something!"

Chapter 3
I rise from my bed and go down to the kitchen in Wintry darkness. The electricity is out. The heat is off. The muffled report of bombs shakes the ground as soldiers at a near-by Army base rehearse for perpetual war. Do I dare light a candle and gaze into Chester's water bowl?

Chapter 3
These events perhaps, like these words, are random bursts of the quantum vacuum, particles of the absurd, shards of a lost equilibrium flung backward and forward in time toward their final rest in entropy.  Why attribute motive to the repeated behavior of an imbecile? Why teasingly string random moments into a fantastic necklace of illusory causation, events that would otherwise spill and clatter in all directions across the cold empty floor of eternity, with the sound of fleeing glass slippers?

Chapter 4
I am hungry. I am hungry for meaning. Aren't you? Let us construct it, even if it isn't here. Out of mashed potatoes, if necessary. Ah, "necessity." Even that we must imagine. Let us imagine that there is a cause, an effect: that each Now follows another. Let us call one the past, another the present, another the future. Let us imagine there is a story.

BOOK III
There is another version of Book III, but it has been lost. Or burned by monks in Alexandria, about 300 CE. The lost ancient manuscript of Book III - this gives our parable weight - written by a prophet from the East, perhaps Bactria, who journeyed across the deserts of Persia to lay that vellum masterpiece, along with a bowl of frankincense, at the infant feet of the doomed king. We must imagine this too.

BOOK IV
Chapter 1
Perhaps someone will say, "We Americans are all guilty of drowning Santa Claus in the waters of Matter." But that is a Gnostic vision too lofty for me. I need something simple, childish, full of hope.

Chapter 2
How about this? "Santa only seems dead, but he rises again each Christmas dawn."

Chapter 3
That really sounded stupid.

EPILOGUE
It's up to you. Tell me what this story means. I am hungry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Qu'est-ce qu'un post-Nice. J'aime beaucoup la lecture de ces types ou des articles. Je peux t attendre de voir ce que les autres ont à dire.