Wise King Taken by the Foolish One
essay no. 7
We're going to get it, deserve it or not, because getting it is random, and must happen to every one of us sooner or later...
Keywords: random, sparrow
I should mention that my eyes are giving me problems. I have what my doctor calls, "dream vision." That is the blurry, new-born, vaseline-smeared vision that you might have experienced in your dreams upon occasion: e.g., you're excited to see (in your dream, if you are like me) a whole shelf of books by your favorite author - Philip K. Dick, of course - ones that you've never seen, but one of which might vaguely ring a bell - wasn't this in a complete bibliography somewhere, one which included student works? - just enough to lend credibility to all the rest - but they're all so blurry you can't make out any of the other titles no matter how you squint. They're out of focus because they were provisional elements of the real world which failed to fully come into being; they didn't need to be brought over from the universe of All Possibility into ours - you're getting a privileged glimpse of the un-real. It's a bit like this sometimes when first you wake from long sleep. Sometimes, but not often, it happens, and when it does you panic, intuiting that the experience is identical to that of the first stage of blindness. But it goes away usually, only now and again persisting in one eye for a few hours off and on.
Likewise, during the garden encounter described above, I could not make out the girl's features other than to recognize that while grown, she was much younger than myself. Then drawing closer (she stood stock still, having "asked" her one "question"), I could suddenly see that she was a heavily made-up, hair-colored and styled forty. My age. Maybe even older, despite her claim to a sort of agelessness that is granted to those who possess moral balance. You match her up with the four-year-old you know she might once have been, and from there your hazy thoughts may turn, as mine did, to admiration and desire; and those thoughts are the basis, actually, for further contemplation of a sort which goes round and round without getting anywhere, creating enough of a disturbance, mentally, that your attendance upon issues of the physical appearance of elements in your immediate surroundings may easily slip below the threshold necessary for awareness, just because there are concerns which are said to be "patriotic." In other words, patriotic means, "Close your eyes," and, "No questions asked."
But isn't the response to the question, "Any questions?" precisely the implication: "Do ask questions! Get involved! Involve yourself through experience of your neighbor's hate, your classmate's destructiveness, or drunken affectations of a suicidal nature."
This grand swirl of un-mediated, uncertain thought crowded out most of the practical concerns in the brain of the Foolish One, who watched then in surprise as everyone around him took off for pharmacies: understanding that deserve it or not, they were going to get it. Chosen at random, they were to be victims, and what was especially upsetting to the Foolish One, and what was difficult to accept for us too is that it could have been anybody, any country, anywhere, because they are all mad - mad at us, yes, but also with one another, and also mad as in crazy mad. The Wise King thought: "We can't stand thinking that we're not important; that it's not all about us, but it isn't." That was his insight, and his response was to seek out the Foolish One and place him under house arrest. Which the Foolish One readily acceded to, knowing (insofar as any one so foolish as he could "know") that the Wise King was too late: the Foolish One's work was already finished - mostly accomplished while he (the Foolish One) slept! The Wise King had brought it upon himself: he had become "the enemy," and his own troops would now bring him down.
Just as, I nodded in realization, to a jam session, you bring your own horn, and it is thereby it which is the instrument of your own destruction, for without it you are unable to create music worthier than the creaky wood, or the inane chirping of the European House Sparrow.
-- Dan Plonsey, October 2001,