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This report is taken from PN Review 227, Volume 42 Number 3, January - February 2016.

A Calendar of Local Expressions Frank Kuppner
1. Aha! Do I perchance espy here a[nother] slight trace of Original Sin?

2. Life is perhaps the slightly more accurate dream of the two. [Occasionally one hears ‘less accurate’. In fact, I heard that version myself once, while driving (I think) down Audery Street—though there, probably, it was the word ‘delusion’ that was being used. I was far too altered, metaphysically speaking, to be utterly convinced. (By which I certainly do not mean ‘drugged’, Officer!)]

3. At the very least, love must be one of our two or three most vital self-deceptions, must it not? [No. And who, my dear accomplice, can ever quite be certain just what, say, the third or fourth of these might be?]

4. God is, if anything, the ruins of something much more truly human. [Also found in the plural, of course. Not ‘reins’!]

5. Yes, Madam. Things are getting so much better all the time, it’s just such an absolute tragedy if a final delirious breakdown is lurking in wait for us really a very little way ahead, ever so slightly further up the road, is it not?

6. So. This happens too, does it? [The initial full-stop is self-evidently optional.]

7. But is it really to be supposed that, so much like everybody else, I too am merely the one whom those particular bullets of non-Existence, of not-yet-organic-existence, just happened to hit? [Hmmm. Yes. When I was not yet not even nowhere! (But come with me for a moment anyway, my darling, though only if you really want to, even like this, into the very next room, where it should at least be a little bit quieter. Eh? (For Reality is that which cannot be transcended.)]

8. All the same, perhaps we should try not to grab Opportunity by the private parts unless that should prove to be absolutely necessary. [For instance, A: did the world ask for permission before it too first emerged?]

9. For it certainly didn’t ask for permission afterwards, did it, B! [Eh? What was that?]

10. So. How many centuries had to pass before the first ever New Year arrived, Daddy? [Again, the initial full-stop—perhaps like (nearly?) the whole universe—is entirely optional.]

11. As for myself, I ask little more of a domestic pet than that it should at least be able to look at me soulfully while I try my brilliant best to explain to it, say, exactly what a leap year is. [(Trustingly? Reliantly?) What? What was that?]

12. Oh, why must all these other animals take everything quite so bloody seriously? [Yes, yes, yes. What lasting good could ever come of that, K.?]

13. No, I never get bored myself. I’m too baffled by (E)verything.

14. Why does everything exist? Why—because of something else, of course.

15. Of course, darling, to a certain way of thinking, I dare say we are all extraterrestrials ourselves.

16. What? Something completely beyond our grasp is ultimately the case, who can quite say how? Is that it? [Certainly it’s what they all keep talking about, B, whether they say they can or not.]

17. Even so, Audrey, I have no wish to be informed that the ultimate answer is that there is no ultimate answer.

18. The significance of absolutely everything must lie outside of absolutely everything. [Yes. After all: where else could it be?]

19. Infinity? Well, how can a single, limited mind be ignorant of quite so unlimitedly much? [Little if anything more than mere paradox-mongering. Yes. But why did I have to be surrounded by quite so many idiots?]

20. So on they go, murdering their more-or-less mirror images, on a vertiginously passing projectile-shelf of molten rock (etcetera)—for supposedly immortal ideas which some now utterly disintegrated figures had dreamt up not really so very long ago, even if not quite last week.

21. Oh, look! There’s someone else now dropping upwards from the surface of the planet!

22. What? These were real people too? [Yes. It hardly seems possible, doesn’t it?]

23. Yes. If only I could never have found out what the people I love really think about me! [Or ‘thought’. Or ‘loved’. Or, indeed, both. Though I must say I myself have been much luckier in this regard. Yes. In this extremely important regard at least. On the other hand, needless to say, I do undoubtedly have the strikingly unique advantage of being me, do I not?]

24. And why do we so rarely say what we really think to those who are merely alive? [Clearly, something has gone very badly wrong here.] [Not for the first time either!]

25. Besides which, what anyone says to anybody else is almost never quite true, is it? [A stark admonition indeed—though hardly to be taken literally. (And, for that matter, doesn’t much the same hold good for anything one ever says to oneself? No, the fact is, by and large, we simply don’t know any better.)]

26. Well, if he or she really had said that, then he would have been wrong—whoever she might have been. [Pretty self-explanatory, I think.]

27. I don’t know. Maybe / the Universe is the bit / that was left over[?]

28. And perhaps the mistakes of our actions struggle to keep pace with the mistakes of our thoughts? [Or perhaps not. But wouldn’t this—as the male A said to the female B (or possibly vice-versa)—be rather more interesting the other way round?]

29. For surely a common feature of any even halfway decent life is a massive, at times almost stupefying dosage of retrospective wince-provoking embarrassment? [Is it? But what then is a ‘halfway decent life’? Eh?]

30. Still. Thank God our underwear can’t get in touch with alien forms of life. [What was that?]

31. (I wouldn’t be too sure of that, if I were you!)

This report is taken from PN Review 227, Volume 42 Number 3, January - February 2016.



Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this report to editor@pnreview.co.uk
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