“The Accusers” / Memorable Fancies #2335

You have seven accusers, the required number. All seven testify, standing in a row facing the judge, saying the same thing, word for word. If even one were to pause, disturb the unison chant of YOU DID, ... ON THE NIGHT OF, ... YOU DID ..., you might be saved. But there is no pause, no confusion, no way for you to escape punishment; because if one accuser were to falter, you would take his place, shouting I DID ... ON THE NIGHT OF ... I DID ... … [Read more...]

“Naming the Gods” / Memorable Fancies #2334

[“The poet names the gods” – Heidegger] If we pick the wrong name for our gods, will they be angry? How can we find out the gods’ true names? They make thunder, so we could call them “Rumbler,” “Loud-crasher” and so on. But if we make a mistake, if we present our strangled, gutted gifts on Their altars and say Their names and a voice from Heaven answers WHO THE HELL IS THAT? bad things could happen to us, could lead to the SMITING we have always feared… … [Read more...]

“The Nomenclators” / Memorable Fancies #2333

There are things we no longer have names for, like strange objects dug out of an ancient cave. And there are words for which there are no longer things, useful words needing a home. So now we have licensed nomenclators who match obsolete words, for a price, to new things such as a new video game, or the latest hair style or car model. They charge high fees and are very busy. Their agency used to have a name, a new and rather catchy one, I think. But they sold it. … [Read more...]

” ‘What are the odds?’ ” / Memorable Fancies #2332

[“How can it be the case that one of the people in the world is me?” – Thomas Nagel] Isn’t it odd that there’s a ‘me’? If my mother and father had never met ... if my grandfather hadn’t immigrated to this country and met his future wife here ... if his own many-times-removed grandfather hadn’t evaded the Czar’s command to attack the Mongols and die, if ... if ... Yes; there’s a one in a million chance that there would be a ‘me.’ Awful odds. Impossible odds. So maybe it didn’t … [Read more...]

“ ‘Who is Your Other?’ ” / Memorable Fancies #2331

It’s been said that we all have an Other – someone who would have been us, if... Who is your own Other? What does it mean to have an Other? Parallel universes? Or a past you’ve managed to forget, a past that might have been different? Perhaps your Other is a prisoner in this universe, and you are his jailer. Or the other way around. … [Read more...]

“Third Grade, 1945” / Memorable Fancies #2330

.. Johnny Bass talks all the time. .. Ernie Smith is stupid and cries because he’s never learned to read. .. Sally Hall tries to be sexy even though she’s only third grade. .. Claudia Mounterville thinks she’s better than Sally Hall because she’s got a longer name and a big house. .. Mrs. Jones is our teacher. She won’t tell us her first name. .. Mrs. Jones hits Ernie Smith with a ruler sometimes because he can’t seem to learn anything. .. Tommy Tempe makes faces behind Mrs. Jones’ … [Read more...]

“Us” / Memorable Fancies #2329

[“Because I did not know his name, he seemed only half real, and a stranger to me.” – Lydia Davis] If I tell you my name, he said, that would make us – the combination of you and me – a way to refer to both of us at once – as ‘us.’ It would make ‘us’ – real. I am not ready to be an ‘us’ with you. Not yet.” … [Read more...]