Monthly Archives: June 2009


Professional, that’s what he should be, X tells me, a professional. He should approach his life in a professional manner, manage his time properly. He should start writing on his calendar, get a diary, get up early, shave, dress sharply, have breakfast, take responsibility, behave as if he’s under the public eye, as if the media might come through the door at any minute. Maybe he should get a PA, he says. Who needs a girlfriend if you have a PA? He should imagine his life under public scrutiny, because isn’t that what being professional means? he asks. He should consider the public eye like a professional, stop brooding and masturbating, be accountable, consider the eyes of public accountability, be an adult, promote profit and productivity, that’s obviously the right path. In essence, he should get some self-respect, he says, without self-respect how does he expect others to respect him? he asks. You certainly don’t get a girlfriend without self-respect, or if you do she’s bound to be bad news, he says, you’ll get taken advantage of if you’re not professional. What kind of girlfriend would you get if you’re not professional? An unprofessional one. And does he expect to live in a one-bedroom flat all his life? If he were more professional he could buy a house, get a mortgage and stop yapping at me all the time, he says. Who am I anyway, he says, that I should take up so much of his time, please, he says, give me a bit of space, I’m making plans, I’m trying to be professional and professionalism means self-respect. He should start wearing a suit, X says.


Part of the problem

X has found out what he needs to do, he tells me. It was like a voice made it all clear for him, like a teacher talking to a child, was it you? he asks. Of course it wasn’t. It told him to get out and do some good in the world, be part of the solution not the problem, because right now he’s part of the problem, he’s very much on the side of the problem rather than the solution, though it wasn’t specific about the nature of the problem or the solution for that matter. The voice told him to be more like Obama, a wholesome American man of energy and goodwill, the father he never had. It’s true he needs change, a new direction. He should take some responsibility and do some good in the world, stop talking so much shit to me, surely that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? he asks. With hard work and positive thinking the sky’s the limit. He could feel the fulfilment of helping people, he can do it, that’s essentially what the voice meant, he says. Maybe he should read Obama’s book for inspiration, he says, it’s said to be highly inspirational.


I hope this preamble will soon come to an end and the statement begin that will dispose of me. Unfortunately I am afraid, as always, of going on. For to go on means going from here, means finding me, losing me, vanishing and beginning again, a stranger first, then little by little the same as always, in another place, where I shall say I have always been, of which I shall know nothing, being incapable of seeing, moving, thinking, speaking, but of which little by little, in spite of these handicaps, I shall begin to know something, just enough for it to turn out to be the same place as always, the same which seems made for me and does not want me, which I seem to want and do not want, take your choice, which spews me out or swallows me up, I’ll never know, which is perhaps merely the inside of my distant skull where once I wandered, now am fixed, lost for tininess, or straining against the walls, with my head, my hands, my feet, my back, and ever murmuring my old stories, my old story, as if it were the first time. And yet I am afraid, afraid of what my words will do to me, to my refuge, yet again.

— Beckett, The Unnamable

X’s decline

X tells me he’s discovered that his life is a long, slow decline. But at least it’s his decline, he says. No, not his exactly, he says. No one has much influence on it, not even himself. It’s a successful decline in that sense, he says, there’s a certain integrity about it. We start dying the minute we’re born, he says, who said that? Someone or other, he says. What a profound statement! he says. But it depends on how you look at it, doesn’t it, he says. You might just as well say we start living when we’re born, he says. Life’s a mixed bag, it swings in roundabouts. Maybe he should be more positive, he says, after all life’s what you make it and you make your own luck. But why does he feel he’s on the decline when he wakes up every morning? That’s his first thought, he says, I’m on the decline. Right before he starts worrying about the colour of his tongue and checking his balls for lumps. It’s because I don’t have a positive outlook, he says. Maybe he secretly wants to be on the decline, he says, maybe he thinks it’s cool or something, like a teenager, what do I know, he says, you make your own luck that’s all I know. Maybe he needs to train his brain to think positive thoughts like the Americans, that’s how it’s done now, isn’t it? Or maybe he should just get some responsibility, he says, grow up be a man, choose life, choose a future, get involved in local politics, get a chinchilla to take care of. No, he’s on the decline, he says, no doubt about it. He’s just one of those sad cases like Eleanor Rigby or the guy down the street with the stained jacket. He probably just needs to get laid, he says, can I find him a girl? No, of course I can’t.

The central point

If he could pinpoint it once and for all, X tells me, then he could move on. If he could find Archimedes’ point, or the Kaballists’ primordial point, or just believe in it, that might be enough to move on, he says. If he could find the lever, he says, or the central point, no, the centre from outside the centre, no, the lever from outside the centre to tip the centre to see what’s under it, no, the central point on which to balance the lever, no, the point from which to observe everything from outside everything, wasn’t that what it was about, the point where the observer doesn’t affect the observed, who was that, he says, Humboldt or Heisenbert, Humbert Humbert, no obviously not, what does he know, he says. Maybe the centre’s everywhere, he says, it occurs to him he read that somewhere. If there’s a central point I guess we’re all all being born from it all the time, he says, like the sperm eternally piercing the egg, and everything’s the moment when the sperm pierces the egg, or maybe everything’s the egg, or the sperm, he’s not sure. Or is it you? he says.


No, there’s no way out, X tells me, not from this particular cul-de-sac. He should be happy he’s found his own little corner of the world, away from poverty. He’s happy, he says. Ecstatic. He’s found shelter, away from all the grotesque suffering, away from leprosy and poverty. He’s been lucky in life, he says. He has his one-bedroom flat and garden, he’s white, very white. He can rest easy, he says. Now he should help those less fortunate, do some good in the world, relieve the suffering. Maybe he should get a chinchilla, he says, to keep him company.

Take a course

He should take a course, X tells me, the writing’s on the wall, he should get involved in something bigger than himself, something real, move to Spain or South America, they’ll show him how to live, barbecues and dancing when the Latino spirit grabs you, move to a hot country, they’re happy there, he says, they have soul and eyes that are alive. Or get into sports again, get some team spirit, get over himself, get some scrapes and bruises. Or go and live in the country, get in touch with nature again, he says. Or do some good in the world, help the poor, stop being so hopelessly white and male. Or get laid, can I find him a girl? he asks. No, of course I can’t.

Local politics

X tells me that last night he was given to see as clearly as a child’s lesson that he’s an escapist, but now he forgets why exactly. What was it I was escaping from? he aks. I work hard, so it can’t be that, can it? he asks. He could work harder, he supposes, he could get up at six and take on more responsibilities. He could get a dog, or a family, even a mortgage, choose life, choose a future. From life, he supposes, he’s an absentee from life. Or from himself, maybe, maybe he’s playing truant from himself. Or from me, is that it? he asks. Maybe he should get involved in local politics, he says.


He’d rather be quiet, X tells me, but something keeps dragging him along trailing his voice, himself probably, no me, can’t I just shut him up? He’s tired, he says. If I said something, anything, it would shut him up, he’d see his place in the order of things, he’d see how high above himself he’s got and fall in line, so just say something, he says, anything.

The annihilation of thought

Thought rises to contemplate its own innerness until its power of comprehension is annihilated.

— Azriel of Gerona