Everyone wants you to read the book on which he or she is working, a novel everyone is writing in order to find the meaning of life, with which everyone’s spouse ran off. But everyone has to finish the novel before everyone can know where the novel begins. In the meantime, there are all these distractions, such as the twelfth-floor window at the office building where everyone works out of which people or maybe just one person keeps jumping or falling--everyone isn’t sure--or everyone’s sexy coworker Sam, whom everyone is struggling valiantly against to keep from becoming a paramour. It’s kind of pitiful, actually, the way everyone keeps begging you to read, sending you e-mails, dropping it into conversation (“I have a book, you know?”), posting links to it on social-networking sites. Everyone figures that if he or she begs enough, you will break down and try it. Everyone is like a dog that way, watching you eat your dinner. The way you handle the dog is to push it away from the table, lock it outside the room. Sometimes, of course, you hand the dog a bite, an inch-sized bit of beef, and that is all everyone is asking for--a bite, that you read just the first line of his or her book. The problem is that you know everyone too well. If you read one line, everyone will beg you to read another. Just one more.

To start from the beginning of the novel, go here.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Everyone Starts a Blog

Everyone started a blog. The blog was a novel in progress, and it wasn’t very good. It wasn’t very good because everyone’s dog kept barking. Everyone’s four children were always letting the dog out, and outside, the dog barked at the dark as if the dark were an overweight squirrel.

The blog was to help everyone find the meaning of life. Originally, the children had been intended to supply this meaning; then it was the dog. Everyone had yet to realize that there was no meaning of life. Everyone thought that the meaning of life was playing a very long and difficult version of hide-and-go-seek.

After work, after the kids were in bed, about the time the dog went outside to bark, everyone sat down to post the blog. Everyone was uncertain what to write in the blog, so everyone wrote about the blog itself. Writing a novel was hard.

Everyone asked the Internet for help. The Internet and everyone were good friends. They had gone to graduate school together. Everyone asked the Internet what the best way to write a novel was, but the Internet was long winded and confused and couldn’t supply a simple answer. So everyone asked the Internet how to find the meaning of life instead. The Internet showed everyone an advertisement. The meaning of life, the Internet said, was for sale. Everyone could buy it. The Internet knew the meaning of life and could give everyone the contact information if he or she wanted it.

Everyone wanted it.

That night, instead of posting a chapter of the novel, everyone wrote the meaning of life to ask how much it cost. It was a heartfelt letter, full of recipes and nostalgia. Everyone hoped that if there was enough nostalgia he or she could get a discount.

The meaning of life wrote back instantly. The meaning of life did not respond at all about the nostalgia, but the meaning of life did answer everyone’s question. “Too much,” the meaning of life said, “more than you have.”

Everyone grew despondent. Everyone did not have too much, just a $5092 savings account, a car that squeaked as it bumped into the dips in the driveway, and the dog and four children. Once, everyone had had a spouse, and everyone had thought that that meant something, but the spouse had run away, and now everyone wasn’t sure.

Rumor had it that everyone’s spouse had run away with the meaning of life. That was why everyone wanted to find the meaning of life, but he or she could not confirm the rumor because the meaning of life cost too much and was very good at hide-and-go-seek.

So it was nice to finally be in contact. It was good to have a friend like the Internet, because the Internet seemed to know all of humanity in addition to all knowledge.

“Do you know my spouse?” everyone asked the meaning of life.

“Yes,” the meaning of life responded. “I know him or her well. Your spouse is very good. I like him or her in the sack.”

This struck everyone as an odd statement coming from someone he or she had just met, and now things were awkward. Everyone was uncertain what to write back. Everyone thought about the spouse and remembered him or her. When everyone thought about the spouse, he or she did not think about the sack.

Everyone thought about the blog.

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