Bob: How many roads must a man walk down, before he can call himself a man?

Fog: Fifty-seven Bob.  It’s fifty-seven.  And not any old fifty-seven roads, it’s fifty-seven specific roads.  Some are long, some are short, some are kind of medium sized.  The one that’s upside down is a bit of a puzzler.  It’s a couple or three hours time well spent.  Hang on…

Bob: The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.

Fog: No Bob, it’s fifty-seven.  This is all clearly laid out in the Induction Pack you know, in the Rites-of-Passage Flow Charts.  No, dont say another word.  You didnt get the pack did you?  Flaming oh-so-typical.  Bloody centralised corporate bleedin’ mono-frickin-liths.  Shag.  In. A. Organise. Couldnt. A. Brothel.  Rearrange those words.  I could murder Logistics, I swear.

Bob: How many years –

Fog: Can it take to implement a simple straightforward policy directive from the Immaculate Conclave of Arch-Magi?  Take yer pick cobbler, really.  This thing was only supposed to be in place about six hundred years ago! Right.  What?  Mountains?  As in geological timeframes?  Too true buster, too true.  Poetically put, I do say.  Not much of a one for poetry myself you see, always felt it was a lazy man’s prose, but that’s a fairly vivid confabulation you paint there.

Bob: The answer my friend –

Fog: Isn’t really that straightforward.  To be frank, this is farcical.  Every adolescent male should be issued – by the Mandatory Reading Materials Fairie – with an induction pack and eff-ay-kews tailored to his specifical cultural disposition with regional variations.  All started, what?  Six centruries ago mate.  I bet there’s six billion of the things mouldering in the pit of some hollowed-out volcano somewhere.  Logistics is a circus.  Always the same excuse – ninjas.  On ropes.

Bob: The times they are a-changin’ –

Fog: The hell.  The times they are not.  And if they are it’s at the speed your fingernails grow.  Look, mate, I’ve had a shocker of a shift here, there isn’t a pack spare and if one was it’d be in ‘effin Swahili or something.  And I’m not running off three-thousand pages on our laser.  Cost a mint.  I’m thinking it’s too late for you anyway old boy.  Right, listen, I’m giving you some pointers.  The basics.  First off – what’s the meaning of life?  Big ones first.  This one’s a bit specific.  The meaning of life is to recover the fabled Faberge Egg with the trouserless grinning Tzar whipping a stableboy with a riding crop.  I know, I know.  This is what I wrote in my diary.  Verbatim.  Sounds more like an objective you’re thinking, yeah?  Yeah.  I imagine it was a late night, everybody was twitching on coffee, you get the idea.  First ideas are the best ones, no arguing.  I’m just passing it on.  I’m just a cog in the machine here boss, a blind, deaf, dumb nosegrinder.  Second.  What is the sound of one hand clapping?  This one’s a koan, so it was most likely made up by some stoned Zen master.  They go straight for the conceptual integral circularity.  The Zen inversion of that?  The obvious.  It’s a kind of swishing sound.  Depends on humidity.  Third – if a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?  The question implies that nobody means no human ears – follow?  This being a forest, there’s going to be other beings there aside from humans.  Given that these beings overwhelmingly boast ears, air vibrations are perceived, sound is heard.  In a word, the answer is yes.  Be wary of the koan brother, haiku is art; koans seize the minds of simpletons.  Subtle difference.  Plus, I’ve said, I have no ear for verse.  In any case, if nothing else caught it, the Grand Arch-Magus would.  He hears all, sees all, knows all.  Drives a Hummer you see.  It’s the inherent supranatural cognition and self-bearing imparted to all who drive the sacred chariots.  Plus they’re miles up in them – see for miles… I can see you’re drifting Bob.  It’s the humming that signals it.  Let’s call it quits on this.  We’ve settled the major trivialities.  The rest is common sense and the gift of a closed mind.  Without that what would we have?   Chaos, Bob, bloody chaos.  Philosophical discourse for a bloody start.  Minds awandering ahither and awhence.  Free a man’s mind from having to think things and you free him up for his born course: siring his own weight in babies and tending the fields in all weathers – be it rain, rain or rain.  Imponderable concepts open the untethered mind up to all kinds of mischief.  Free thought, questioning, critical faculties.  Koans.  The internal life.  Koans, all that bollocks.  Anyroad squire, hopefully that’ll set your mind at ease and you can quit the troubadour-like folksey minstrelling.  Now, do you want a natural back or shaped?

Bob: Oh… erm… natural.

Fog: Very good sah!  How much better do you feel with that crazy whiteman Afro clipped off?  Good, I bet.  Oh, and will we be needing something for the weekend?

Bob: Hmmm?

Fog: Prophylactics.  I’d imagine the answer would be no.  Bohemia takes it’s earthly toll squire.  Off you toddle, I’ll take payment in you’re shawn locks.  Might string a magical lyre with them.  Go now!  To the Working Men’s with you.  It’s time you stopped thinking and started conforming to stereotypes at your age.

Categories: and the like, Whimsey
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