Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Philosophers' Summit

by Matthew Sanborn Smith

After the second night we hit the bar. Not at the hotel. They’d all be talking shop over there and we’d had so much of that existentialist/platonic/deterministic/Kant/Nietzsche/Kierkegaard bullshit by Saturday night we wanted to puke. Wouldn’t you know it, this bum down at the end of the bar asked us about ourselves and Steve spilled it all.

"Philosophers, huh?" the guy said. "Straight from the wisdom convention. Well I got some philosophy you haven’t heard."

I groaned. "We’ve heard it all. That’s all we’ve heard for the last two days."

"Like what?" Steve asked the guy.

"Will you shut up?" I said.

"Like, you know those guys who say everything is connected? It ain’t. Everything is connected except for three things." He ticked them off on his scabby fingers. "Cheese doodles, specula and The Lawrence Welk Show. Those are just hanging out there, loose in the universe."

"Heavy," Steve said. He’d only had half a beer and a Corona, at that. Must have been the fatigue tearing off pieces of his brain.

"Look, man," I said, wanting to put an end to it, "We’ve got the flipping Dalai Lama speaking to us tomorrow. What could you possibly have that can stack up to that?"

Suddenly the loon spoke with the voice of an evangelist. "He’s pretty good, all right. But I saw Dali’s armoire in a dream once and it spoke to me. It said, ‘There are those who would say that things are not what they seem, but in fact, things are exactly what they seem!’"

"So A equals A!" Steve said.

"What the hell is wrong with you, Steve?" I said. "You’re receiving guidance from some hobo who’s receiving guidance from talking dream furniture! That’s just crazy!"

Steve got up and walked down the bar to sit next to his new guru. "And that, my friend, is exactly what conventional wisdom would say."

I tried to sputter but I just spat all over myself. I looked at the two of them. Smiling like they’d just solved a theorem.

"I just . . . I . . ." I thought about the convention center and what I really had to look forward to tomorrow. My shoulders sank, and the world rolled off of them, crashing through the barroom floor. I joined Steve and friend and ordered a round of the hard stuff.

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