“The Fame of M. Everett Donning” / Memorable Fancies #472

      M. Everett Donning is famous on three continents, but he doesn’t know why. He’s been successful in business, but who would care about that? “Are you the M. Everett Donning?” many people approach him at social events and ask.

     “Perhaps,” he says, “That’s my name, so I suppose so.”

     Then they say, “I’m honored to meet you, sir.”

     Great achievements are mentioned, always vaguely. “I don’t remember quite where I heard of you, but I’m highly flattered to be speaking with M. EVERETT DONNING. No, I can’t imagine where I heard of you. Was there a photo of you in that airline magazine?”

     “I believe you’ve confused me,” Everett says, “with someone else with the same name.” “Oh no,” says the other, “I remember your face. At that conference where you made such a hit, for example, and on the evening news.”

     Everett pondered: Perhaps I am crazy. Perhaps I have amnesia. Perhaps, like Job, the Old One is playing some horrible joke on me to win a bet. Perhaps I have a double. Perhaps there is a nationwide conspiracy to fuck with my mind and it’s all going to be on television where I will win kitchen appliances and be called a “good sport.”

     After months of this, Everett can’t stand it anymore and resolves on suicide – just as soon as he has the answer. He seeks that answer with longing and deep fear. He founds a charity devoted to helping others who don’t remember themselves, who perhaps aren’t themselves. He gives interviews. He hosts conferences. He’s mentioned on the evening news. He is widely honored. His picture appears in an airline magazine.

               (– after Jacques Lacan)


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