Absurdity Rethought


People often come up to me, on the street, in the shower, when I'm sharing a special moment over Orange Mocha Marshmallow Italiano, of the International Orange Mocha Marshmallow Collection, and ask me, "Is being absurd enough?"  For years, I responded, "I was talking to the duck!" and we'd all laugh, knowingly.

Lately, however, I been doing some thinking, and I realize that simply being absurd is not enough.  There is poetry, drama, romance and good food.  There is aspirin, M*A*S*H re-runs, picking at scabs, and really well-made jogging shoes.  There are warm puppies with cold noses, gallant knights in white satin, and brown paper-bag ladies tied up with string--to name just a few of my favorite things.  There are literally hundreds of free government pamphlets to send away for--many of them about cheese and cheese by-products!  It is estimated that Americans have lost nearly four billion dollars in pocket change.  It could be under your sofa cushions right now!  There are a hundred and ninety-two Eskimo words for snow, but not one for Tupperware.  There are seven virtues, seven dwarfs, and seven deadly sins; four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse, thirteen days in a bakers week, fifteen hairs on a dead man's chest, and fifty ways to love your lever.  And sentence fragments.  "Yes," I respond these days, "being absurd is important, but there are other things in life, too."


(When the author was nine, he had an insect collection, kept in an egg carton, each bug pinned delicately in its own little chamber. It was really neat, especially the big green one that looked like a leaf. He doesn't know what happened to it.)