michael, 2010 IMG_9009

The Lecture

Two men sat in a bar. They looked similar, about the same age, weight and height. They went by the same name. Michael. They were the same man. Their paths had separated when the man on the left stopped drinking, seriously drinking. Sitting at the bar, the man on the right drank fast and continuously. The man on the left drank sipped slowly, cautiously. The minutes ticked by. The bar was empty.

Eventually, the man on the right stood up. He had a few drinks but not enough to effect his powers of persuasion. He spoke logically and deliberately with the wisdom of all his years. To this date, I think of him as a sage. “I look at you with sorrow,” he spoke. “You stopped drinking. You became a up standing citizen, a teetotaler. You became conservative, straitjacketed, starved of life. You lost your wild edge. Your innovation is gone. You buried your free spirit.” The old man was full of honest rage.

The man to the left tried to ignore him. He concentrated on his drink. But, the other man persisted evoking Thoreau, “your passion for live is extinguished. You will let others suck life’s marrow dry while you lie behind white picket fences.” His tone had gone bitter, he continued. He recited arguments rehearsed based on Eliot, Aristotle and Kant. And, then he said “you have lost all that was experimental, all that was experiential.”

His cheap alliteration was too much. The man on the left go up and passed through the door out onto the street. He had lost the argument without speaking a word. But, he lived and learnt to listen.

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