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Notes from the Absurditarium


I am home for the evening. Tired. Long day. I have fixed a drink. A gin and tonic without the tonic. It’s better than a gin and tonic without the gin. I am not supposed to drink, therefore I do.

I work at the Absurditarium in a strip mall in the heart of the city. In the Contrarian Department. They assigned me to Contrarian because I am a reformed Conformist. My exact duties are to do the opposite of what I am told to do. I was to report to work every morning at precisely 8 a.m. so I started coming in at 9. Then 10. Then after a less than glowing performance review, I stopped showing up at all. I got a promotion to Asst. to the Chief Contrarian with a revised job description (it’s 3,224 pages) that says not coming to the office at all is fine. As a result I work almost all the time like a child laborer in a Dickens novel.

I feel I’ve been tricked.

I don’t receive a salary, instead they take a little out of my account every other week. I know I’ll be fired when I run out of money. Then what will I do? It’s a scary world out there without the protection of an employer. I gradually sell off possessions to survive. Books and records. Electronics. Furnishings. Spare organs.

Tonight I rest in my favorite chair. It will be the last thing I sell. I’m waiting for the Absurditarium to tell me that it’s my responsibility to rest in my favorite chair. It’s at that point that I will be forced to part with it. The same with my gin and tonic without the tonic.

Because I’m ordered to lead a moral and upstanding life, I steal to supplement my negative income. At first only foodstuff. A frozen t.v. dinner shoved down my pants. A fresh strip steak under my hat, blood running from my scalp into my ears. Fresh cheeses clamped hard in my armpits. The limburger was, perhaps, an unfortunate choice.

I joined a health club for the sole purpose of breaking into fellow member’s lockers and stealing clothing that will not fit me. I’ve absconded with jewelry and even cars to give away because I’m not allowed to enjoy them myself and the Absurditarium insists that greed is good and the poor are undeserving. I seduce fat, ugly housewives because they disgust me.

I was to visit Lucinda (I call her ‘Cinda) this evening but I felt compelled to deny the pleasure. I called a friend on my stolen phone using highjacked service and asked him to go fuck her.

What I have learned is that it is now hard to tell what pleasure is and that whatever it is or isn’t, it is damned hard to avoid. Perhaps that is the point. The cheap, warm gin without the tonic is like nectar. My solitude and the austerity of my surroundings is soothing. Thieving is an exciting and rewarding avocation. Working long hours everyday gives me a sense of fulfillment and belonging. Even the thought of “Cinda heaving and groaning under the loins of another man is not without a certain appeal. People learn to enjoy any hardship and privation because they love life most of all, however it is configured.

A few months ago the Absurditarium instructed me to commit suicide at my earliest convenience. So, I visit the doctor regularly and am the very picture of health and vitality.

I must not question the will and designs of the Absurditarium because I know not their purpose and plan. I question everything. I don’t know who or what to believe so I believe nothing and no-one which leads me back to the beginning. I curse God at bedtime even though I am a non-believer. All I know is that what the Absurditarium asks of us, demands from us, we give. Suffering joyfully.

I’m in the “catch and release” program. Like an undersized trout. The authorities, in the employ of the Absurditarium, arrest me, question me, drug me, probe and plunder me and toss me back into the stream of the streaming masses.

If being a Contrarium results in unintended results, serving the Absurditarium when I  shouldn’t or vice versa then why should I not act contrary to my own contrarianism. My gills hurt. I have been too long without liquid oxygen. Another gin and tonic without the tonic.

‘Cinda once asked, “What’s wrong with you? Why are you not rich and famous?”

“My not being rich and famous is what’s wrong with me”, I answer while digging under the sheet for her aromatic, moist bog.

She crosses her arms and clamps her loins together tightly. “You toil tirelessly and thanklessly into oblivion.”

I pull my hand free and go back to my book, smudging the pages with wet fingertips. “Bolivia is not such a bad place”, I say.

‘Cinda giggles in spite of herself and can’t suppress a fart.

When they say my writing is bad, I believe that it is good. When they say it is good, I know it is bad. Sometimes brilliantly awful. At other times awfully brilliant.

Those were the days before I sold the bed.

If I could stop being a Contrarian and go back to being a Conformist, I would. If only I could act on my beliefs. But that is the very thing the Absurditarium has stolen from me. My own beliefs, critically derived by my own intellectual faculties. Instead I am forced to select from the competing, shallow beliefs of others. Often the loudest and most prevalent opinion wins regardless of the facts which are never revealed.

I must sleep. Tomorrow I’m to report to the Chief Contrarian who will issue new orders.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. ideaimages
    July 24, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Checked into my office in the halls of academe this noon to water my plants. Sitting here numbly anticipating the fall of the next semester’s foot–this resonates all to well. [Will have wine instead of gin].

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