memoirs, art and fragments by Thomas Milner

Posts tagged ‘twilight zone’

Minnows in the shallows

There are lots of odd and surreal things about this place which lead me to think I have already arrived in that twilight zone between dream and reality.

MY SON - PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

MY SON – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

Take the case of people tapping their head significantly (but medically dismissively) and jerking their chins towards some of the poor souls who get up from their places while a meal is still in progress and start to meander in slow motion between the tables as though exploring a maze to which they have forgotten the way out.

Logically we are facing a scenario whereby one half of the oldsters are tapping their heads significantly and jerking their chins towards the other half.

(Ironically there is only person here about whom they could validly tap their heads significantly and that person is me, with my recurring brain tumours, the fourth of which I’m about to have surgically removed any time now).

Tap tap they should go

Tap tap

Tap tap

We are all just

Minnows in the shallows

The mysterious case of the uneatable pears

An  inspirational book (for my generation at least) was CATCH 22 by Joseph Heller.

Wicked and hilarious this book with brilliant wordplay brings paradox to an inevitable  Zeno-like absurdity. Published in 1957 it dazzled our generations and spread across the Anglophonic world like a wildfire.

(Now, of course, we have spawned a generation which, not only has not read CATCH 22 but also hasn’t read much else either – poor them, so many lost conceits, so much lost irony).

Anyway there is a scene in the book where everyone on the base is issued with a pill to throw away into the bushes.

STILL LIFE WITH FRUIT - PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

STILL LIFE WITH FRUIT – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

So it is in this place. Sometimes we are distributed with green pears so hard and unripe that those of us who still have our own teeth, should we actually attempt to bite into them … but not to worry the pears are not to be eaten but to be put into our pockets or bags and consumed in a couple of days when they are ripe.

That same impulse, the same força de vontade, which is so good for my physical improvement, impels me to be difficult about the pear situation.

I enter the dining room for dinner at 7.00 sharp and notice the small rock-like green projectiles – what’s this, I think, are we going to have a window-breaking contest after dinner or have some of us been distributed with uneatable pears again:

–          Excuse me, I don’t want this fruit because it’s not ripe, is it? I’ll have the fruit pap, please.

–          There is no fruit pap left.

–          No fruit pap left!

–          You have to warn us in advance if you want fruit pap instead of a green pear.

I’m entering The Twilight Zone again.

–          Can’t you just assume that I will prefer fruit pap to unripe fruit …?

Meanwhile someone else has tactfully produced one of the apples that they keep in the kitchen in reserve for difficult cases like mine.

STILL LIFE WITH APPLES - PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

STILL LIFE WITH APPLES – PAINTING by THOMAS MILNER

The Twilight Zone

Sometimes I feel as though I were living in the twilight zone.

Guess what the three old buffers at my table are talking about? They are actually telling each other that it rained last night. Each of the three is trying to outdo the other two in his descriptions of the weather in a bizarre kind of one-upmanship:

–              It certainly rained well last night and they gave more for the rest of the …

–              Where I was, it rained so much that the cabbages were all flattened and all the other vegetables were spoilt in the back yard …

–              Well where I was, it rained so much and wind was so strong that some of our roof-tiles were ripped off …

–              Well you had it easy! Where I was, there was such storm that the whole village was flooded …

–              You were lucky! Where I was, I woke up and my bed was floating down the street …

–              You had a street! Luxury! Where I was, when I woke up my bed was floating out to sea

–              You had a bed! What luxury, I woke up at the bottom of the sea and my tea had to be fetched by a huge fish etc., etc.

But then I remember that they have their Faith and thus have the advantage of me. What’s the point of all my reading and ideas if I can’t even manage to construct a decent ?belief system.

Drink deep or not all from Hyperion spring

A little learning is a dangerous thing

Alexander Pope advises us.

 

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