The Broom of the System 8.3分
读书笔记 6 1990 /b/
空蝉
“You want to know the story? I’d be happy to tell you. I think I have just enough caloric energy stored up to make it through the telling of the tale. It’s short. I am monstrously fat. I am a glutton. My wife was disgusted and repulsed. She gave me six months to lose one hundred pounds. I joined Weight Watchers ... see it there, right across the street, that gaunt storefront? This afternoon was the big six-month weigh-in. So to speak. I had gained almost seventy pounds in the six months. An errant Snickers bar fell out of the cuff of my pants and rolled against my wife’s foot as I stepped on the scale. The scale over there across the street is truly an ingenious device. One preprograms the desired new weight into it, and if one has achieved or gone below that new low weight, the scale bursts into recorded whistles and cheers and some lively marching-band tune. Apparently, tiny flags protrude from the top and wave mechanically back and forth. A failure—see for instance mine—results in a flatulent dirge of disappointed and contemptuous tuba. To the strains of the latter my wife left, the establishment, me, on the arm of a svelte yogurt distributor whom I am even now planning to crush, financially speaking, first thing tomorrow morning. Ms. Beadsman, you will find an eclair on the floor to the left of your chair. Could you perhaps manipulate it onto this plate with minimal chocolate loss and pass it to me.”
“....”
“Marvelous.”
“Still, though, Norman, I know you to be a highly intelligent man. Surely turbulence with the wife is no reason to eat like this. To self-destruct. A purported failure at Weight Watchers ... to hell with Weight Watchers!”
“No, Vigorous; as usual, no. I have come to see this afternoon that Weight Watchers—and diet enterprises, diet books, diet personalities, and diet cults in general—that they are almost inconceivably deep and profound things. They have tapped into a universe-view with which I find myself in complete agreement.”
“A universe-view? Norman, I—”
“I see you’re interested, Ms. Beadsman. Have I interested you?”
“Sort of.”
“No small feat, I imagine, to interest a spunky, sharp-haired girl.”
“....”
“Yin and Yang, Vigorous. Yin and Yang. Self and Other.”
“....”
“Weight Watchers holds as a descriptive axiom the transparently true fact that for each of us the universe is deeply and sharply and completely divided into for example in my case, me, on one side, and everything else, on the other. This for each of us exhaustively defines the whole universe, Vigorous. The whole universe. Self and Other.”
“Sounds uncontroversial to me, Norman.”
“Yes and also not only that each of our universes has this feature, but that we are by nature without exception aware of the fact that the universe is so divided, into Self, on one hand, and Other, on the other. Exhaustively divided. It’s part of our consciousness.”
“Okey dokey. ”
“And then they hold as a prescriptive axiom the undoubtedly equally true and inarguable fact that we each ought to desire our own universe to be as full as possible, that the Great Horror consists in an empty, rattling personal universe, one where one finds oneself with Self, on one hand, and vast empty lonely spaces before Others begin to enter the picture at all, on the other. A non-full universe. Loneliness, Vigorous. Weight Watchers sees itself as a warrior in the great war against loneliness. Is that not noble? One moment. You, waiter! I wouldn’t say no to a mint, you know! Feel free to bring some mints! Excuse me. Loneliness. Balance. The emptier one’s universe is, the worse it is. This we all surely accept. Do either of you not accept this?”
“....”
“....”
“Now, Weight Watchers perceives the problem as one involving the need to have as much Other around as possible, so that the relation is one of minimum Self to maximum Other. This is a valid though, as I’ve seen this afternoon, by no means exclusive way to attack the problem. Are you getting my drift, Vigorous?”
“Well, a drift is such a—”
“It occurs to me that I couldn’t care less. A full universe, Vigorous, Ms. Beadsman. We each need a full universe. Weight Watchers and their allies would have us systematically decrease the Self-component of the universe, so that the great Other-set will be physically attracted to the now more physically attractive Self, and rush in to fill the void caused by that diminution of Self. Certainly not incorrect, but just as certainly only half of the range of valid solutions to the full-universe problem. Is my drift getting palpable? Just as in genetic engineering, Vigorous. There is always more than one solution.”
“I think I—”
“An autonomously full universe, Vigorous. An autonomously full universe, Ms. Beadsman.”
“What should I do with these mints, here?”
“I’ll just take the bowl, thank you. Rather than diminishing Self to entice Other to fill our universe, we may also of course obviously choose to fill the universe with Self.”
“You mean ... ?”
“Yes. I plan to grow to infinite size.”
“Do I recall saying big mistake? Did I mention decks not being completely full?”
“Lenore, please. Norman, friend, really. A universe-view is one thing. No one can grow to infinite size.”
“Has anyone ever tried?”
“Not to my knowledge, no, but ...”
“Then do me the kindness not to shrilly monger finite failure until I’ve tried. No one had ever been able to give butter life, either, but ...”
“What was that?”
“Nothing. To be ignored. A slip of the tongue.” “....”
“Yes and tonight Project Total Yang begins. I am going to grow and grow and grow. There will of course eventually cease to be room for anyone else in the universe at all, which I’m afraid will also mean the two of you, for which I apologize, but say also tough titty.”
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