“But the thought of being a lunatic did not greatly trouble him; the horror was that he might also be wrong.”
― George Orwell, 1984
From my blog (I called it an “Online Journal” then), The Daily Epiphany, Friday, January 31, 1997
I’ve been thinking about Lee at the Dinosaur play we went to last week. Thinking about the start of the second act when the dinosaur, the three-horn, the Triceratops, no- the actor, no- the actress wearing the Triceratops costume emerged from the rear of the theater and moved down our very own aisle, making dinosaur-type noises (what kind of noise does a dinosaur make?) and glaring and gesticulating at all the enthralled children.
Lee was grinning, smiling, waving back with a little half wave. His radiant face was plastered with an unbelievable expression, one of absolute wonder and amazement, he looked like, well, he looked like he had seen a dinosaur. In the play, the protagonist (a paleontologist) and her daughter had traveled back in time by way of an incantation the daughter intoned. They ended up at the very nest of the dinosaur whose remains (egg shells and bones) they had been unearthing at the beginning of the play.
Lee knew this wasn’t a real dinosaur, he knew it was an actor inside an attractive, but not very realistic dinosaur suit. What was it? A Dinosaur or an Actor? What’s the difference? None to him. As an adult I, of course, hold no illusions of it being real, I could tell that, not only was it not a dinosaur, it was evenone of the other actors in the play, an actress, the actress playing the museum president. Actress-Dinosaur, ThreeHorn-Triceratops, DinoActress-MuseumPresidentActress, which is it?, which is real? and which is the illusion?
Children accept the fact that for all practical purposes there is no distinction between fantasy and reality. Adults forget, or choose to ignore this fact.
No difference you say? Reality and fantasy, no distinction? Run across this street then and get hit by that cross-town bus, there’s your distiction.
Yeah, that bus is real, all right, I think we can agree on that point. But why did it hit me? Bad luck? Destiny? Did the Tarot cards predict this?
“Yes, I can see it now, the cards will predict your future. You have drawn the Greyhound Card, along with the Hanged Man. I predict you will be smacked by the Lexington Avenue Cross-Town bus at seven thirty AM June 23rd 1998, after leaving Starbucks, looking at your watch, trying to catch the train.The bus will have an ad on the side, for Tyrone’s Seafood (Plate O’ Shrimp – $4.99), the driver’s name is Roger Slothrop.”
“But that can’t be true! I don’t even drink coffee!”
Our daily struggles we blame on the stars, on our parents, on the government, but who is to blame?
I suppose we need to watch out for that bus, but it would sure be nice to be able to pay for a ticket to the children’s theater and get to see a real dinosaur.
And a piece of flash fiction for today: