8.10.08

Halls of Higher Learning

The hallowed halls of higher learning are long and narrow affairs. Lined with crooked books on crooked shows. Thick books. Thin books. Tall books. Short books. Blue books. Red books. Brown books. Black books. Alphabetized by author or subject of auto-biography or both. I like the brown ones.

These books that line these long and narrow hallowed halls of higher learning are wordy buggers by wordy men with unpronounceable names who work in far flung places massaging far flung theories into far flung words in far flung languages to be translated by wordier men with farer flung words in languages we thought we understood perfectly well when we got up this morning or early afternoon with pages of these books stuck to our cheeks with spit that spilled out our mouths as we slept, inadvertently, in one of the blue books.

These books that line these long and narrow hallowed halls of higher learning are piled from the floor to the high ceiling and the top rows can barely be seen and can only be reached on ladders on wheels stacked on stacks of blue, red, brown, black books and small step stools that look like up-ended pails. Where I come home pails are used as pails. Not for reaching the periodicals on the top shelves, but for slopping pigs or packing bullshit. My grandmother sometimes says things like, "I didn't know they stacked bullshit that high," mostly in reference to politicians.

In these long and narrow hallowed halls of higher learning they stack it to the ceiling and you can only get to the top on ladders on wheels stacked on stacks of blue, red, brown, black books and small step stools that look like up-ended pails.

In these long and narrow hallowed halls of higher learning there are no windows, the books are stacked in piles too high. The only light is a laser beam of flat white shooting down the dead center of these long and narrow hallowed halls of higher learning.

The hallowed halls of higher learning, lined on either side from floor to ceiling with blue, red, brown, black books full of long words placed awkwardly by men with long names in alien tongues are crowded with awkwardly dressed grey men with long names and strange glasses on strange chains and strange hats and mis-matched socks and dull brown shoes. Standing elbow to elbow laughing in deep, hysterical, pitches about jokes told just over your head. As you watch your dull brown shoes pass one another in time with the swish-swish of your ironic green high school football coach's wind breaker. Medievil armour helmets are heavy and cause you to stoop as the jokes and flies whizz overhead and causes the clamour and cackles of the awkwardly dressed grey men to riccochet and echo endless between your ears so it is only the buzz of the flies.

Not even the awkwardly dressed grey men with long names and strange glasses on strange can reach the top shelves. Not even the awkwardly dressed grey men with long names and strange glasses on strange can see over the piles of blue, red, brown, black books. Not even they are that tall. No one is.

Every few days one of the awkwardly dressed grey men climb the ladder on wheels on the stacks of blue, red, brown and black books and the small step stool that looks like an up-ended pail and take a book of the top shelf and read random passages from random pages of random words written by wordy men with unpronounceable names who worked in far flung places at massaging far flung theories into far flung words in far flung languages translated by wordier men with farer flung words in languages we thought we understood perfectly well when we got here this morning or late afternoon.

Today one of these awkwardly dressed grey men climbed the ladder on wheels on the stacks of blue, red, brown and black books and the small step stool that looks like an up-ended pail and took down a well worn brown book by a well worn ancient British-German ex-pat with a beard and blood on his hands. In a self-translated auto-biography in poorly translated German and broken English he explained a far-flung theory of how man is a cog in a misbehaving machine and if each man were to be more cognisant (groan) and compliant then maybe the machine would behave for our benifit. Until then, a cog that is not cognisant of its cogness cannot be a happy, healthy, productive cog. It'll just clog and cry and wander aimlessly with faces full of blank expressions ____________________...

It'd be nice, I decided through the buzzing, below the whizzing, if cogs were cognisant of their cogness and could act accordingly and make the machine whirr in just the right way. But, I decided through the buzzing, below the whizzing, it'd be nicer if the poorer cogs didn't have to spill their own blood to spill more of the blood of the richer cogs so the poorer cogs can turn around and bow at the feet of the last rich cog and starve themselves to death. It'd be nicer, I decided, through the buzzing, below the whizzing, if open ended far flung theories would be left to play out in less of a bloody mess. It'd be nicest, I decided through the buzzing, below the whizzing, if we threw the thickest, wordiest, books on the highest crooked shelves onto the ground and stood on the stacks so we could see over the piles and out the windows and see its raining and since an "umbrella is no match for Newfoundland wind" we'd better get home quickly, before our heavy helmets rust and our ironic green high school football coach's wind breakers leak.

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