Monday, October 13, 2008

Another Secret of the Universe Exposed!

On Saturday, R.A. and I were enjoying the Chicago Indian Summer by having brunch at the Guatemalan place down the road. While we were there, however, the same thing that always happens whenever I dine outdoors occurred: a bee came and landed on my orange juice. I would shoo the bee away, and then it would buzz about and then settle back down on my glass of orange juice! But, the problem was, I was thirsty, and wanted to drink my juice! So, while waiting for the bee to kindly leave, we (we being me, R.A., and the bee) composed the following haiku:

Oh, bee! You want my
juice. I also want my juice.
Eternal struggle.

Needless to say, this made me feel much better about my situation at the moment, and I consoled myself further my nibbling on fried plantains and sipping my Guatemalan coffee. It was then that I had something of an epiphany.

The only particulars of the above haiku are the words "bee" and "juice," which are both only one syllable. So, without them, the poem reads:

Oh, X! You want my
Y. I also want my Y.
Eternal struggle.

You can substitute any other pair of single-syllable words for "bee" and "juice" and retain the poem's structure as a haiku. For example:

Oh, dog! You want my
lunch. I also want my lunch.
Eternal struggle.


Oh, bird! You want my
eyes. I also want my eyes.
Eternal struggle.

(That one happened to me yesterday.)


Oh, God! You want my
soul. I also want my soul.
Eternal struggle.

The possessive pronouns are also (largely) interchangeable, meaning that you can also describe the state of desire as well as that of suffering, such as:

Oh, pig! I want your
chops. You also want your chops.
Eternal struggle.


Oh, Steve! I want your
job. You also want your job.
Eternal struggle.

The possibilities are literally endless here. Even more apt, however, is that this poetic structure epitomizes the Buddhist/ Hindu concept of samsara, of the cycle of desire and suffering. As an added bonus, it also illustrates the fundamental economic principle of finite supply/ infinite demand. It could also be used to explain how Darwinism works.

Also, I have decided that plantains are delicious.

1 comment:

carterwrites said...

Joel. Reading your blog is one of the highlights of my day. If it wasn't so amazing that would sound pathetic, but it solidly deserves the "top of the day" slot.

Thanks for keeping me entertained and informed!

Erin (Maryn's friend)