If fishing's a fair metaphor for falling in love, and it's been around so long it must be (it may even be the world's oldest metaphor, like if being a hooker is the world's oldest profession, where but from fishing could the word "hooker" have come? From the hooks on the ends of shepherds' crooks, I suppose. I like that even better. I can just about see one of my maternal ancestors near what's now Munich, yanking one of the local lads into her cave for a quickie in exchange for a particularly fetching piece of malachite or amber or jade. There she is now! Crook in hand, lounging in the shadow of a granite cliff with her pelvis thrust out, smoking the last of a lipstick-stained Benson and Hedges Lite, eyeing a guy coming unawares up the rock strewn pathall of which, however, points up one of the flaws in the underlying presumption, that being, to wit: can prostitution be equated with love? That's another question I can't answer. What I can say on the subject is it's always made me feel good about myself that there was never anything of any monetary value in it for anyone who fell in love with my worthless asswhich is not to say I didn't pay. I paid. I paid plenty. I'm still paying. Nor is it to say that, if you can equate the two, had I ever had anything of any monetary value, I wouldn't have given it over gladly. Take my watch. Take my shoes. Love, love me, do. But, enough of this; I have don't have time to go into the etiology of every minuscule thing that comes to mind. Maybe I should take the time, though. I'm not sure quite what's expected of me. I suppose I could go on the Internet and see what everyone in the world has had to say on the subject every time the word "love" reared its ugly head. Or is it jealousy that rears its ugly head? I have a hard time telling the two apart. I have a hard time telling all sorts of things apart, etiology, for instance. I think I may have talking about etymology. Etiology's the origin or the cause of things, etymology has to do with words. Not to be confused with entomology. The last thing I need is a nest of cockroaches scurrying around inside this already exceedingly ill-advised parenthetical remark. Which I think, at some point, I may even have forgotten was a parenthetical remark. Okay, okay, where was I?
"Where you been, Ope?"
"Wha'cha usin' for bait, son?"
"These here ain't crickets, son; they's cockroaches."
"La cucaracha! La cucaracha!"
"You dance funny, paw."
"We best get washed up for dinner, son."
Whoa! Easy, big fella! You want to slow down a minute and try taking a stab at the etiology of some of this latest drivel?
How about years of cauterizing my brain in front of daytime TV?
Aw. And how, pray tell, came thy poor brain to be in such a state, my pet?
Pray shut the fuck up and knock it the fuck off and I'll get to how is how. Now, have we ended this parenthesis yet or not?
Haven't the foggiest, old sport. You worry too much about little things like punctuation.
You worry too much about little things like your dick.
Oh! Ho, ho; touchy, touchybut, while we're at it, you want to know something that pisses me off? J. D. Salinger, that's what.
That certainly seems germane. Now, about this parenthesis we seem to have found ourselves in...
Well, that's sort of the point. I'd just as soon we'd never started the thing.
Well, we have.
Well, we shouldn't have.
Well, since we have, I suggest we figure out a way to end it.
Don't you still sort of miss him, though?
J. D. Salinger.
Doesn't the thought still cross your mind sometimes that when he finally dies we're all going to be in for A BIG SURPRISE?
I think he already did.
I don't know. Maybe he didn't.
Have we gotten A BIG SURPRISE?
Then he probably didn't.
Hey, did we get any BIG SURPRISES from anyone? Ever? What about Houdini? Weren't we supposed to be in for A BIG SURPRISE when he dropped dead? Houdini, Houdini, he's our man. If he can't do it nobody can. And didn't he drop dead and nothing happened? But no, the answer is no, the thought doesn't cross my mind, and even when it does, what could he possibly say that wouldn't be anticlimactic?
J. D. Salinger. Who have we been talking about? You can wait only so long for the other shoe to drop. It's a nice feeling though. It's akin to the sound of one hand clappingwhich, if you can believe the guy, and he certainly went to considerable lengths to sound as if he was the sort of guy who could be believed, was what he said was what he was after.
Is that what he said he was after?
I guess. Wasn't it?
Hey, who knows? Who cares? Is what I say.
Yeah? Well, you want to know what I say? I say we really ought to start entertaining some notions on the subject of ending this parenthesis, is what I say.
How about we just blow up the whole chapter?
We've blown up enough chapters.
Okay. How about from now on we keep the parenthetical stuff to a minimum, forget about the Internet, and just end the son of a bitch any old where?
Well, we probably ought to go back and see how it started.
Why? Let's just whack it off). There. Like that.
Well, we're still in the middle of a sentence, is one reason. You can't end a parenthesis without finishing the sentence it's in.
J. D. Salinger never did.
All the more reason.
Well, it might have been important, too.
I don't see how it could have been.
Let's go back and see.
You go back and see. Personally, I'm for blowing up the whole chapter.
Let's just blow up the whole book, then.
No, no, I'll go back.
I don't know. It's hard to say. It might have been important. There's no way of telling without seeing how the sentence would've ended.
Just end the parenthesis and start the sentence all over in a new paragraph)
If fishing's a fair metaphor for falling in love, and it's been around so long it must be (but let's just say it's not and get on with it).
Oh, I feel so much better!
Think it was worth all that?
Hey, who knows?
The Shadow knows. Remember the time they had that guy with the broken arm on "The Shadow"? The guy who gave people heart attacks from a scientific heart attack device he had hidden in the cast? He looked like the man in the moon. He killed doctors and lawyers and sophisticated ladies. Nobody knew where the heart attacks were coming from. The guy was laughing up his sleeve. I figured it out before Lamont Cranston did. The guy put a fake cast on his arm in order to have a place to hide the scientific heart attack device he'd invented to kill the people who thought they were better than him.
So, I had a dream about him when I was a kid.
The guy who gave people heart attacks. He wanted to be my friend. I didn't want any friends. He had a German Lugar. He was wearing suspenders. I could fly. He couldn't. That made him mad. He shot me, but I was transparent. The bullets went right through me. They tickled. I was playing football in midair. I was Elroy Hirsh. The guy kept getting madder and madder. He didn't see how he could keep missing. He lunged at me. I straight-armed him in the face. He tried to climb the wall. His suspenders slipped off his shoulders and tangled up his arms. I cut toward the top of the curtains. Bullets tickled through me. The more I laughed the more he shot me, the more it tickled, the more I laughed. I thought I was going to die...
You are going to die if you keep this up. I am personally going to kill you.
With a fucking bazooka, that's how. I'm going to shoot it into your fucking face.
You don't have a bazooka.
I'll get a bazooka! And I'll shoot it in your face!
Okay, okay. Where were we?