January 1, 2007

Latus Rectum

Thread: Equation

“He did have a tendency to stick his head so far up on his own rectum that he’d get lost.”

Earl stopped picking at the beer bottle’s label. He looked up to meet the eyes of the slouching teenager sitting opposite, who had removed His LA Dodgers cap to rummage around His short afro. Earl wondered what God was looking for, but said, “Plato?”

“Plato had this theory of ideas.” God put the cap back on, dissatisfied with something. “He was bothered by how people could recognise common ideas or forms. For example, no two cookies are identical, but they are all recognised as cookies. They seem to have a cookie thing about them that everyone can see. How come everyone recognises completely different objects as the same thing?”

“Cookies? You remind me of that doctor woman up at the university.”

“She’s a nice girl, Earl, and I won’t hear a bad word said about her. Although, truth be told, she doesn’t yet realise her life is nothing but limitation. Back to the topic, didn’t you ever wonder about that? How come everyone agrees what this is?” God sketched out a square in mid-air with a finger. “A rectangle, right? How do you know this freehand shape is a rectangle? Every ‘rectangle’ is different.”

“I thought it looked kinda like a square.”

“Work with me here, Earl, I’m making a point.”

Here we go again, he thought. God had a habit of leading him into some logical dilemma and then making him feel stupid for not coming up with the right answer. God probably knew what he was thinking anyway and apologised mentally. Sorry. If, on the other hand, He hadn’t bothered listening to Earl’s thoughts, he offered, “Sir, your beer, I think, is gettin’ warm.”

“That’s okay, Earl. I’m not going to chastise you on what you’re thinking. So, Plato’s theory of ideas?” God started to drink his beer.

Earl glanced out the window and observed the sun descending, melting the sky into gold. He wondered how long God was going stick around like this. He still wondered why He was here in the first place. Maybe God would hear that thought and decide to answer. “You’re not going to answer that one, are you, sir?”

God put down his beer after finishing it in one great gulp and said, “Drinking beer takes concentration, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Now stop evading my point, I’m not trying to catch you out or anything. Rectangles, Earl, rectangles.” He clapped his hands twice like a teacher requesting attention and focus.

“No, sir, can’t say I ever did think about that,” Earl said. “But if I had given the matter some particular thought…” He paused, trying to come up with an answer that would please God. He decided to be honest. “I wouldn’t really care for it. I’m sure there’s something complex in the head that can explain that sort of thing. The brain probably compares things and says, that’s the same and that’s the same, and picks out what’s the same a lot and, uh, what’s the word…”


“What? That wasn’t the word I was looking for. I don’t even know what that means, sir. Generalizes is what I was reaching for.”

“That’s excellent, Earl. Plato, bless his beard, came up with this kooky scheme. He said all souls had access to common knowledge. All the forms in the physical world were actually sourced from perfect originals. So all cookies are approximations of the perfect cookie, that is in ‘heaven’ with me.”

Earl laughed. “Is the beer doin’ the talkin’ for you today?”

“No lie, my friend. So you can imagine this, can’t you? Plato has lumbered me with not just the Perfect Cookie, but the Perfect Chair, the Perfect Cigar, the Perfect Microwave Oven, the Perfect Martini (Shaken, Not Stirred) and even the Perfect President of the Uganda. I, apparently, have enough space to store all of this. I mean, the cheek of the man, philosophers think they can tell me what to do.”

“Wow, so this Plato was a’couple sandwiches shy of a picnic?”

“No, he had all the bases covered. Plato was kind enough to give me the Perfect Closet to put everything in.”

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 1907

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