Sunday, February 28, 2010
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
The man was feeling down. He wasn’t feeling himself. He wasn’t feeling anything.
He threw his used Kleenex in the waste paper bin, which was filled exclusively with waded, wasted wipes. He rolled out of bed and headed for the shower. He washed himself slowly and gathered his clothes and then slipped them on and went to work.
After a mundane workday, he met up with his friend the scientist at a pub down the street from where he worked. The scientist was always coming up with hypotheses, like a good scientist should. The scientist loved to look at problems and the man was always happy to sit and listen to the scientist speak at length about whatever he was tinkering with at that given time.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” the man told the scientist, waiting for the waitress to bring them their second round of beers.
“What do you mean?” the scientist responded with a raised eyebrow.
“Well, I don’t really know. I just don’t feel like anything. Do you know what I mean?”
The scientist nodded the same way a shrink does when he’s listening to a patient. There was the show of concern on his face, like he was at the same time analyzing and sympathizing with the complainant. And of course, like any psychologist, he gave off the slight impression that inside maybe he was having a little laugh about the problems he was hearing. There was also a pint glass covering the bottom of his face, as he took a generous sip of the recently delivered beer.
“I just feel like a watered down version of myself,” the man said. “Like I’m not full of life. Or what’s the word,” he paused. “Vigor.”
“I’m just not making things happen. I’ve got no charisma. I’m boring to myself in conversation.”
The scientist put down his drink.
“I’ve noticed this, too” the scientist told the man.
“Yes, and it has gotten me to thinking.”
Somewhere inside the man, a flicker of excitement was lit. However, the man could not feel it, because he had been without feeling for some time.
“Is there something you can suggest? Is there something I can do? I really do hate feeling this way.”
“Well,” the scientist started, before again picking up his glass and stalling before taking a swig. He secretly enjoyed leaving people in anticipating.
“Well,” he started again, wiping some suds from his face. “Have you been masturbating a lot?”
“I asked you if you have been masturbating a lot.”
“I’m sorry, but I don’t see the relevance of that question.”
“You asked me if I could suggest anything to you and there is a theory I’ve been working on for a while now. But I can’t help you if you don’t answer the question.”
The man took a long look at the scientist before taking an even longer sip of his beer, which he nearly finished in the motion.
He put his pint down and answered, in a voice that was much quieter than the one he had been using previously.
“I suppose that yes, I have been masturbating quite frequently of late.” He stopped. “I don’t know why I’m telling you this and still, I don’t know what this has to do with anything.”
The scientist smiled. “It all makes sense then.”
“What makes sense?”
“Your loss of feeling. Or vigor as you called it.”
The man sat quiet, allowing the scientist to continue.
“Look, it’s all very simple. Every time you masturbate, you are jettisoning a minute part of your personality. “
“Not at all.”
“It is. It’s completely unfounded.” The man laughed. “I do enjoy listening to your work, but I must say, this time you are completely out on a iceberg.”
The scientist continued undeterred. “Take a quick peak around this bar. Do you notice anything?”
The man glanced around the pub. He saw a doorman with an especially long and thoroughly groomed beard, sitting sullen at the door. The waitress and the barman were laughing about something at the bar. She was touching the barman’s arm. A married couple sat at a corner table. The husband fiddled with his beer coaster and then started picking at the label on his beer bottle, while his wife texted someone on her phone. A young couple picked away at some nachos, and traded whispers into each others’ ears, bringing smiles to their faces
“I don’t get it,” said the man.
“It’s really all perfectly clear if you take a detached and scientific look at it.”
The man rolled his eyes, but did as he was told and looked around the bar again. Then he shrugged.
The scientist picked up his drink and finished it.
“I bet you I can tell you who is having sex here and who is masturbating. With 100 percent accuracy, no less.”
“I’m all ears.”
The scientist pointed toward the doorman, who was now thoroughly checking the IDs of a group of girls who had just entered the bar.
“You see that gentleman with the beard there?”
“He’s a masturbator.”
“How do you know?”
“Just watch the way he deals with those girls.”
The doorman took each piece of identification and combed over them far longer than it took to check a date of birth.
“He doesn’t know how to talk to those girls,” the scientist said. “He’s holding onto their IDs in the hopes that the girls will talk to him. He wants them to comment on his beard, which is quite the piece of work.”
The beard was impressive. The man had a goatee, but the beard portion extended from his face about a good six inches. For a man dressed in such shabby clothes, the beard was definitely the staple of his appearance.
The scientist continued. “What I would call that thing on his chin is a zero-personality beard. The man is not able to converse with people due to a severe deficiency in personality brought upon by his chronic masturbation and so, in order to gain attention, and a potential mate, he attempts to distract people from his shocking void of personality with his outstanding, meticulous and well-defined beard.”
“Yes, I think it is. A lot of people have crazy beards. None of those people are getting laid?”
“Think about it. Really think about it. Why would you need a crazy beard if you were having sex regularly? Wouldn’t it get in the way?”
The waitress came by and the two ordered another round. The man would hate to admit it, but the scientist had made a good point.
“I’ll get this one,” said the scientist.
(To be continued...)