a tragic work of tremendous import wherein metaphorical Man is released from the bondage of apathy only long enough to produce and consume a beverage of historical significance before lapsing recidivistically into prior doldrums, an event which causes him to doubt at once the motives of god and the meaning of existence [implied]; followed by a brief discussion of metaphysical implications; cookies and punch will be served.

since he’s tired, there seems little reason to bother with it. He lay sprawled on the couch, torpid, the ceiling describing to him with some vigor the harsh blankness of its surface, its imperfections, the bit of [choose one: hommos; bubble gum; chocolate syrup; razzleberry Koolaid] that someone had launched upwards years ago (perhaps in a fit of flavor-induced euphoria) and failed to clean. Too tired to turn off the television, anchors assault him with news of continued violence in [upper; middle; lower; rural] [east; Balkans; Pacific northwest, Eurasia]. Also, a local boy named [Timmy; Bobby; Arnold] got to meet a state senator because he won a contest for making the most realistic tableau of [the signing of the Declaration of Independence; a ConAgra slaughterhouse on a hot day; 19th century surgical procedures] using only elbow macaroni and red glitter.

“I need a [girlfriend; 30″ plasma television; giant bowl of chips],” he thinks, somewhat morosely, knowing full well that such a thing is out of his reach, both figuratively speaking as well as literally, as he is not likely to get up for anything. “In fact,” he says to himself, just peeved enough to say it out loud instead of subvocally, “Why did I even get out of bed this morning?”

And here he is faced with a dilemma: should he get up long enough to trek to his bed, or stay where he was, somewhat uncomfortably, out of sheer apathy? “[fudge; damn; criminy; expletive deleted]!” he shouts, suddenly feeling petulant. “Look at me: I’m trying to decide if I’m too lazy to go be lazy! This has got to change! I’ve got to do something with my life! Why, I could [paint a picture; chase squirrels; take up amateur horticulture], or [learn to speak Pennsyltucky Dutch; build a working spaceship from recyclables; listen to King Crimson LPs backwards in search of hidden messages], or maybe even [run for political office; sculpt my guns; create a new language derived from Elvish]! Hell, I could even sing karaoke!”

He pauses as his [dog; cat; indentured servant] looks quizzically at him. “Well, maybe not karaoke,” he adds as an afterthought. “But, I could… I could…. I could use some coffee. Maybe a bagel. Ooh! Or a [cheese danish; donut; piece of baklava].”

But first comes the nearly-insurmountable task of physically moving his body in proximity with the coffee machine, a gorgeous, byzantine Gevalia number, a mocha goddess that beckons with pouting, percolating lips. His indolent arms lay against the cushions as if paralyzed, refusing motion even for the promise of beverage. With a sigh like [a nor’easter; flatulent livestock; Marlon Brando] he strains, grunts, and finally—Hercules smites his foe, Sisyphus tips a bolder over the top—sits up, wrinkling his nose at the news anchors, who are now blathering about [holiday recipes; serial rapists; recent studies proving that chocolate is good; recent studies proving that chocolate is bad]. He snatches the remote resolutely and gave an irritated stab at the power button, missing and instead changing the channel to [a Spanish soap opera; MTV; Who Wants to Briefly Marry a Millionaire?]. A strangle cry tears from his throat at the horror of it all, and he carefully frobs the power, reducing the glowing apparition to a pinprick of light, which blinks out of existence like [an old bulb; Leif Garrett’s career; unrealized probabilistic waveforms].

Tremulously, he makes his way to the kitchen, the sodium-yellow light overhead throwing a glare onto the waxed linoleum. With the greatest of measured care, he doles out several spoonfuls of dark brown coffee into a filter. It was coffee from [Costa Rica; Brazil; Guatemala], and he reflects—only briefly, while his beverage brews—on the turbulent history of the beans he was holding in his hands, the slave wages paid to the natives who picked the ripe cherries, the rise and fall of vast fortunes based on the perturbations of the harvest. It is a curious thing, life. As he enjoys his beverage, brown sip after brown sip, couched in brown study, he is taken aback at the infinitesimal nature of his own existence. Certainly, the beans used to make the steaming mug of mocha in front of him had seen more of the world. But here he is, a more magnificent creature of vastly superior [intellect, video gaming skills, hair], barely able to summon the motivation for verticalness. What intolerable cruelty is this lethargy? Or no—not cruelty at all, but a cold and distant set of stars. Disillusioned, he thinks perhaps that he is entirely alone, untouched by the posited love of creation, estranged from his neighbors, their voices silent upon his ears, their tongues indecipherable.

He—nihilist, solipsist, narcissist, coffee freak—lay physically and spiritually sprawled on the table, limp as coffee grounds, thinking perhaps the a priori assumption of human value is inherently flawed, that perhaps value is predicated upon history.

That perhaps he should make some of his own history, laying down the mortar of worth, action by action, travail by travail, cup by cup. That perhaps his lethargy is a self-fulfilling prophecy, a cycle of unrealized potential, self-abuse, and doldrums. Even if he doesn’t take up arts and crafts or learn a language or build an ark, perhaps he will stand up and play fisticuffs with the mockery of his lonely metaphysics.

Tomorrow, though. Today, it was already rather late, and

§976 · February 9, 2006 · Tags: ·

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