Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Never in my life have I felt such an affinity with an animated crocodile as I have after watching Schnappi. I am Schnappi. Schnappi is me. Except he's Egyptian, and I'm still the property of the United States.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

When a man lives with an ear to the ground, the silences speak volumes. There is a science nestled among the subtleties of silence. It seems a paradox, and no, deafness is not a desired trait for such an occupation.

Silence is rarer now, and the study has become esoteric. The old masters were able to see the length and breadth of every silence, like a shadow cast upon the ground. They sat on the steps of the abandoned temple that served as their college and gestured at the silences between the people passing by.

These human silences were the more apparent then, even as they are now. Beginning students are merely encouraged to seek for those spaces in between us where silence can live. In time, they may learn to see it there, billowing out behind the passers-by. Everywhere silence fills the vacuum. All graduating students understand that the presence of the silence is vital to our existence, crammed together as we are. If the silence did not fill these spaces between, what would?

As students advance, they learn to distinguish between the silence. Again, the intellectuals so fond of snubbing this particular science become unwitting subjects. There are silences Awkward and silences Satisfied. There is the silence Between Uncertain Words. The silence of Death is more difficult to ascertain, as the other, living silences quickly crowd into the new space, usually Regret, Despair, or Indifference.

There are the more intimate silences, but this is recommended only to the advanced students, usually those who have endured their year in the Silence and still wish to continue their studies.

There is the silence that stretches between loved ones as they part ways without expressing their love. The silence stretches between them like a stale piece of taffy, warping before it tears.

There is the silence before an orgasm, a rushing silence, a swift current hidden in a still water.

Angry silence is an airless room adorned with razor blades on string.

The old masters are gone now. With no willing heirs to their knowledge, the study of silence has become a private endeavor. Perhaps, between us all, we know everything. The silences are still with us, around us, and nestled even inside us. Perhaps this is what prevents us from hearing many of the things we tell ourselves.

And so, to the study of a broken science. Failed Endeavors have a silence as well, but it has yet to be identified, measured, and cataloged. Perhaps it is the silence of one who believes himself slighted, when in fact no one is thinking of him at all.