the Disillusioned kid: And now for something completely different...
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Sunday, January 22, 2006

And now for something completely different...

Imagine the scene…

You slowly return to consciousness. Struggling the whole time. Where are you? How did you get here? More to the point, what is that smell?

Slowly, painfully slowly, you become aware of your surroundings. You’re in a room. The walls are white, reflecting the harsh light. It takes sometime, how long is hard to tell, before you realise somebody is standing over you. You look up, squinting in the light to which your unconsciousness-afflicted eyes are struggling to adjust. As your vision finally returns, it dawns on you that the smiling face looking back at you is me. Things are obviously worse than you’d realised.

"How are you feeling?" I ask innocently.

"Muh," you mumble, not even sure yourself what you are trying to communicate.

"Good, good," I respond, still smiling. "I was worried you might be feeling a little iffy after the operation."

"Operation?!" you cough, suddenly very awake. Your mind begins to race. What happened? When? How? Who’s responsible? Can I sue? For my part, I’m barely peturbed by your concerns and raise my right arm to point. Your eyes follow my gesture and settle on the figure of a man lying face down on the other side of the room.

The man is a dishevelled figure, his hair long and unkempt, his chin punctuated by several days of stubble. His clothes are stained with various substances it’s probably best not to think about and the ensemble is finished off by the puddle, of what you take to be his own vomit, which he is lying in. As yucky as he looks, nothing strikes you quite as strongly as the tubes running his various orifices, across the floor and into your butt.

"Wha- wh- what…?!" you stutter.

"Him?" I ask nonchalantly. "That’s Fred. He's a famous violinist"

"He doesn't look much like a famous violinist," you retort.

"What do you expect? A flashing neon sign? A tattoo on his forehead?" You decide not to dignify that with a response, turning instead to the real subject of your concern. "What about these... Tubes?"

"Oh, don't worry about that," I reassure you. "Fred had a few too many last night - you knwo what it's like - and we needed somebody to help clean the shit out of his system. Don’t worry it won't take all that long."

"How long is 'not all that long,'" you ask, the anger welling up inside you only held back by sheer confusion.

"Oh, I don't know… Eight… Nine months…"

"Nine months!" you expectorate. "Your telling me I've gotta be wired up to that deadbeat for nine months?!"

"I s’pose."

"Let me out!" you command. "Unplug me from him!" By now, 'angry' doesn't really describe the way your feeling. Incandescent would be closer, but is far too pretty a word to convey the way your feeling. This state of mind is not assisted by my response.

"I can’t do that."

"Why not?"

I look at you quizzically and respond like a parent trying to explain to an uncomprehending child why he can’t play football on a motorway, "Because that would kill him." For a moment you’re lost for words. You just stare at me. Silent. After a while you compose yourself and ask, "Don’t I get a say in this? Some choice?"

"Why?" I respond. "You 'choose' and Fred here'll be six-feet under pushing up the daisies when he should be in Carnegie Hall performing to a crowd of millions. Far better for all concerned, and music lovers around the world, that you just lie back and think of Poland."

"Fuck Poland!" you spit, "And fuck you! I don’t want to be part of your fucking experiment and I don’t care about your friend over there." You gesture dismissively in Fred’s gesture in case there’s any confusion about whom you’re referring to.

"That isn't very friendly," I protest. "I'm sure he wouldn't be so cruel about you and I'm told Poland's lovely at this time of year."

"I don't care," you retort. "I don't want to be stuck in this shit-hole for the next nine months, wired up to some supposedly famous violinist who can't handle his drinks."

"Your not neccesarily stuck here," I suggest. "I'm sure we could find a wheelbarrow somewhere and..." You cut me off with a stare. "Don't worry," I assure you. "It'll be fine. It'll all be over before you know it." You just keep staring. You don't look convinced.

(This analogy is brought to you as part of Blog for Choice Day, with apologies to Judith Jarvis Thomson, Poland and violinists.)

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